Meeting: Greater Jasper Schools

The Greater Jasper School Board met Monday and:

Heard that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance approved the 2019 budget after cuts. The final property tax rate for the year will be $1.09 per $100 of assessed value.

Approved conflict of interest statements for 2019, including one for Board Member Ken Schnaus who works at Springs Valley Bank and Trust and one for Board President Bernie Vogler who drives athletic buses for the corporation.

Heard a presentation about Project Lead the Way STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — projects in Jasper Middle School science classes. The sixth-graders have been learning about green energy, energy use and the environment, and snap circuits. They built a cardboard wind turbine capable of lifting a cup of weights and learned to insulate a house they built from recycled materials. Seventh-graders constructed a Rube Goldberg machine to learn about energy and force.

Approved changes to the Jasper High School handbook that were presented at last month’s meeting. The major changes are to course offerings. Starting next year, the school will offer several more Advanced Placement courses, but will no longer offer the lifeguard training course.

Approved purchasing 250 Chromebook laptops for $56,234.89 for the corporation’s fourth-graders to replace outdated units. The laptops will be purchased using the corporation’s rainy day fund and student textbook rental fees.

Approved purchasing 2,000 new technology devices and a service agreement for $1,119,900 for the high school students to replace outdated units. The devices will be paid for through a lease with Springs Valley Bank.

Heard that the Jasper Elementary School project is 25 percent complete. Crews are working on structural and curb work as the weather allows.

Approved a bid from Knies Construction for $425,750 to reconfigure the parking lots at the middle school in preparation for merging Jasper Middle School and Jasper Elementary into a single campus. The board also approved cement or lime stabilization work if necessary. That would add between $34,000 and $35,000 to the project if it’s needed.

Approved seeking bids for two roof-related projects at Ireland Elementary School.

Heard that Ireland Elementary doesn’t have to make up the day students missed in December due to mechanical issues at the school.

Heard that the corporation is changing how it pays hourly employees so that their pay is not spread out over 26 pay periods, meaning that hourly employees will no longer receive paychecks during the summer months beginning next school year.

Approved a job description for assistant superintendent of student support services/transportation. Also approved beginning the hiring process for the position.

Heard that kindergarten roundup will take place at Ireland and Fifth Street elementary schools from 8 a.m. to noon and 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Heard that the corporation has been working on a long-range facilities update plan and will host a public work session to present the plan at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, at the high school auditorium.

Approved new incentives for bus drivers, including reimbursement of all fees associated with certification, a $500 year-end bonus for no absences and health insurance eligibility for drivers who drive 30 or more hours a week on regular routes and extracurricular events. The goal is to help the corporation attract bus drivers.

Approved the resignations of part-time library assistant Tina Mair at the middle school, assistant volleyball coach Gina Schuetter at the high school and behavior consultant Sandy Zigler with the Exceptional Children’s Co-Op, which serves the area’s special needs students.

Approved increasing middle school library assistant Kena Robling from 13 hours per week to 19.5 hours per week after Mair’s resignation.

Approved hiring custodian Ron Dauby at Ireland Elementary, and head volleyball coach Jennifer Hohl and head football coach and strength and conditioning teacher Tony Lewis at the high school.

Approved the Child Nutrition Procurement Plan as required by law. The plan explains how the corporation procures the food it serves students.

Approved the following field trips for high school students: the Future Farmers of America to attend the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Indiana District 10 Days at the FFA Leadership Center; the robotics team to District Event 1 in Mishawaka, District Event 3 in Greenwood and the state championship in Kokomo; and the Business Professionals of America to attend the state conference in Indianapolis and the national conference in Anaheim, California.

Approved the following facilities use requests: the Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Celebration to use Ireland Elementary for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration March 15-17; and the Tri-County YMCA to use Cabby O’Neill Gymnasium for the Jasper Summer Day Camp. 

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