Meeting: Greater Jasper Schools

The Greater Jasper School Board met Monday and:

• Held a hearing on the proposed 2020 budget. There were no public comments.

• Heard a report on the Jasper High School athletic department.

• Heard that the results of the new state standardized test, ILEARN, which launched last year, will be made public Sept. 4. Statewide, schools have seen a drop in pass rates.

• Heard that the corporation plans to send literature to parents about the Naviance career exploration software suite that the corporation uses with sixth through 12th grade. The literature will teach parents more about the system and how to log in to view their student’s profile.

• Approved the school resource officer agreement with the City of Jasper. The agreement keeps officers Jason Knies and Brian Lampert on as school resource officers. Per the agreement, the school corporation pays $91,617.08 per year per officer to help cover the costs to the city of employing that officer, including equipment and weapons, salary and benefits.

• Heard that the bus routes have been reviewed and are in compliance with all state laws.

• Heard that the new traffic pattern at Jasper Middle School is going well and that people are using it correctly.

• Heard that the school hosted school bus safety training for all elementary-aged students and plans to do so every year.

• Approved purchasing playground equipment for Jasper Elementary, which is under construction on the city’s north side. The cost of the equipment to the corporation will be $20,745 for the preschool and kindergarten playground and $115,950 for the first-through-fifth-grade playground. The corporation also won a $20,000 Keurig Dr. Pepper KaBoom! grant to help build the preschool playground. The $20,745 the board approved reflects the cost after the grant is subtracted.

• Approved a bid from Jasper Lumber of Jasper for about $32,000 to convert an unused classroom near the athletic offices at the high school to a film room where teams can review game footage. Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey said the corporation has a potential donor to help cover the cost of the project.

• Approved a quote from Deig Brothers of Evansville to replace two hot water boilers at the high school that were installed in 2001 and are becoming obsolete.

• Approved the following resignations: English as a new language instructor Bethany Sinkhorn at Fifth Street Elementary; summer staff Gabe Barth, assistant volleyball coach Susan Ahlbrand and basketball coach John Colvin at Jasper Middle School; and cafeteria staff Carma Pfau, part-time cafeteria staff Melba Burger, summer help Gavin Fortwendel and concessions supervisor Lisa Jennings at the high school.

• Approved the following new hires: English as a new language instructor Lora Ross at Fifth Street; part-time Title I instructional assistant Leah Peterson at Tenth Street Elementary; part-time instructional assistant Kelsey Foster and assistant volleyball coach Abby Pierce at the middle school; part-time cafeteria staff Mag Buechlein and assistant girls golf coach Ashton Knies at the high school; high ability co-coordinator Audra Jahn for the corporation; and speech and language pathologist April Sherman for the Exceptional Children’s Co-op.

• Approved a lease agreement between the corporation and the Exceptional Children’s Co-Op for the co-op’s use of office space in the lower level of the corporation’s administration building.

• Heard that the summer food program the corporation hosted at Tenth Street was a success and something the corporation plans to continue. The program costs are reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and aims to make sure kids continue receiving at least one meal a day during the summer months.

• Approved the following field trips: the high school Future Farmers of America to the state dairy foods and livestock skill-a-thon at Purdue University in West Lafayette and to the national FFA convention in Indianapolis; the annual eighth grade Washington, D.C., trip in April 2020; and the high school performing arts student to Orlando, Florida, for performing workshops at Disney.

• Heard that the Indiana School Board Association fall conference will be held the last weekend of September in Indianapolis.

• Heard a comment from Jasper resident Dr. Richard Moss suggesting the school year start later. Moss said he believes that starting in the first week of August is too soon since summer is a key family time and students are consistently busy with various activities. Moss said he’s talked to several other local parents who agreed with him. He asked the board to consider moving the start date back one week. School officials explained that the corporation follows the countywide school calendar, so any changes would have to be approved by all four school districts.

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