Meeting: Greater Jasper Schools

The Greater Jasper School Board met Monday and:

• Heard an update on the corporation’s COVID-19 online academy option for the 2020-21 school year. Families will opt into the academy when they register their children. Students in the academy will be considered Greater Jasper students, but the online academy is done by Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy. The teachers for the academy will be Edmentum’s teachers, not Greater Jasper’s. The school corporation will have two facilitators who will help families navigate the online academy and stay in touch throughout the school year.

• Approved Megan Messmer and Dana Kunz to serve as facilitators for the COVID-19 online academy. The board also approved a $2,500 stipend for each.

• Approved a schoolwide facial coverings policy that follows Gov. Eric Holcomb statewide mandate. The mandate requires facial coverings to be worn in schools at all times when social distancing cannot be maintained with an exception for children under age 8. Exceptions can also be made for people who cannot wear facial coverings.

• Approved administrators to fill job openings before the start of school. The new hires will be approved at the August board meeting, which will take place after school resumes on Aug. 12. Superintendent Tracy Lorey said all teacher positions are filled for the upcoming school year, but there are several openings for support staff.

• Approved Alex Bastien to complete his Eagle Scout project at Jasper High School. Bastien plans to construct an outdoor classroom space near the 15th Street entrance to school grounds.

• Held a public hearing on an additional appropriation of roughly $3.2 million for the education fund. The additional appropriation will cover expenses in the education fund for the rest of 2020. The funds are available but cannot be spent without an appropriation. The board approved the appropriation following the public hearing.

• Heard a summary of the proposed 2021 budget and approved advertising the budget on Indiana’s Gateway system. The board will hold a public hearing on the budget at its August meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24 in the high school cafeteria, 1600 St. Charles St. The proposed budget includes a property tax rate of $1.82 per $100 of assessed value. That rate will likely decrease through the budget process with the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. For example, the proposed tax rate for 2020 was $1.79 while the final rate was $1.10.

• Approved book rental and course fees for the 2020-21 school year.

• Heard that Jasper Elementary and summer maintenance projects are mostly finished, with the exception of finishing touches. Projects include paving the south parking lot at the high school, security upgrades throughout the corporation and replacing a roof top air makeup unit for the Jasper Middle School kitchen.

• Heard that the maintenance staff is in the process of adding water bottle fillers to the drinking fountains around the corporation. The bubblers on the drinking fountains will be disconnected. Students will not be able to drink directly from the drinking fountains as part of the COVID-19 safety measures that are being put in place.

• Declared industrial dehumidifiers from Tenth Street Elementary as surplus. The dehumidifiers will be liquidated. Anyone interested in purchasing them should contact Lorey.

• Approved bread, paper product and small wares bids for the cafeterias for the 2020-21 school year.

• Heard that the annual renewal meeting with Dunn and Associates of Columbus, who manages the corporation’s health care benefits, went well. The cost of the plans came back lower than in previous years.

• Approved the following resignations: science teacher Debi Quade and part-time cafeteria staff Helen Stenftenagel at the middle school; instructional assistant Tama Werner at Jasper Elementary; and instructional assistant Cathy Cartley at Ireland Elementary.

• Approved the following new hires: instructional assistant Marilyn Beier at the high school; science teacher Audrey Werner, science department chair Susan Gibson, assistant boys cross country coach Amy Bastien and assistant volleyball coach Alexa Rasche at the middle school; teacher Austin Hopf at Jasper Elementary; and part-time cafeteria staff Deb Fuhs at Ireland Elementary.

• Approved Lorey’s request to continue serving as a coach for Indiana State University’s Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship program.

• Heard that as of now, the Indiana School Board Association and the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents’ fall conferences are still happening at the end of September. Lorey will register board members to attend.

• Heard that the Indiana School Board Association Region 9 meeting is scheduled for Nov. 2 at KlubHaus 61 in Jasper.

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