Source: The Corydon Democrat

NH school tax rate to decrease

by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

September 17, 2013

Property owners in the North Harrison Community School Corp. can expect to see the amount of their tax bill that goes to the school system decrease for 2014, based on what Supt. D. John Thomas presented Thursday night at the school board of trustees’ regular meeting that also included the budget hearing.

The tax rate for 2013 was 0.8424 cent per $100 of assessed valuation; Thomas estimated next year’s rate will be either 0.7619 or 0.7443.

Thomas broke down the 2014 budget as follows: General Fund, $1,113,245; Capital Projects, $1,121,378; Transportation, $788,254; and Bus Replacement, $178,482. The total — $3,201,359 — is about $340,000 less than this year’s budget, which included $556,175 for Debt Service. The NHCSC paid that off this year.

The school corporation hopes to purchase eight new buses in 2015, Thomas said, adding that the corporation owns 35 buses.

Former teacher Greg Rupp, telling Thomas that the previous school board and superintendent had committed to replacing the middle school, which previously was the high school, asked how that factored into the budget.

“I can’t speak for the board,” Thomas said. However, “once you build up a balance, you can transfer it to the Rainy Day fund. My plan is to have a balance in Capital Projects and transfer it.”

The Capital Projects fund is what is used to pay for building projects and major renovations.

In recent years, North Harrison’s tax rate has dropped from the $1.5090 high in 2010 to 0.7991 cent in 2011 and 0.8444 in 2012.

The meeting, which came a day after 9/11, began with a moment of silence for those whose lives were lost during the deadly attack on the United States. Thomas also offered a short prayer.

Resident Sue Fessel addressed the board to put rumors to rest that the Mid South MOPAR group that had put on the annual car show for 18 years as a fundraiser for North Harrison’s band had not charged the group for its work. This year was the first time since 1994 that Mid South MOPAR did not organize the car show. Instead, the band boosters did it themselves.

Fessel, whose son was in marching band, said the fundraiser was started when the band needed new uniforms.

“Band is one of the most important things,” she said. “It keeps kids busy. You know where they are on weekends and nights.”

In fact, the Marching Cougars were in front of the school practicing their show when the school board meeting started at 7 p.m. and were still rehearsing when it adjourned about 90 minutes later.

“It grew over the years,” she said of the car show. “I’m proud of the club for what we’ve done. ... We volunteered our time and vehicles” in addition to giving a $100 prize to the top car at the shows.

Joan Weston, this year’s band booster president, apologized to Fessel and said she had not heard the rumor.

In other business, the school board:

•Adopted three policies that are now required by the state: the Restraint and Seclusion Policy, the Anti-Bullying Policy and the Habitual Truant Policy. All passed unanimously with the exception of the anti-bullying policy, which school trustee Gary Byrne voted against.

“I disagree with a lot of what’s in here,” he said, citing that it places “too much responsibility” on the school system to police students, especially during summer recess and breaks.

Thomas agreed that when students are using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter when at home, it should be the parents’ responsibility to make sure their children are not bullying others. However, he said, when the problem comes into the school, it’s the school’s problem.

Veronica Battista, school board president, said, while the policy may be “far reaching,” she doesn’t want to see any child bullied and supports the policy even if it helps just one child.

Thomas said the policy also allows him to punish a principal if he can prove that the principal failed to investigate any claim of bullying.

One parent at the meeting said that her daughter has been bullied.

“What happened at school was not necessarily bullying,” she said, “but what followed at home was bullying.”

The mother said she and her daughter had not read the school corporation’s anti-bullying policy. (She was given a copy of it before leaving that night.)

Battista told her she knows there are have been presentations at the schools about what constitutes bullying.

“I will not tolerate bullying at school,” Byrne said. “If it’s going on and we’re not doing anything about it, I want to know about it.”

School trustee Marla Adams encouraged those who think the state’s required policy is “over-reaching” to contact their legislators.

A future policy the board will have to work on and adopt addresses gangs. “We have another year to do that,” Thomas said.

•Gave permission for the advertisement of the 1991 Chevy eight-passenger van as surplus inventory.

•Approved permission to advertise for additional appropriations, in the amount of $800,000, for General Fund expenditures.

•Accepted a grant for $5,000 from the Indiana Arts Commission to the two North Harrison and Morgan Elementary schools to fund a series of visiting artists to work with students during the 2013-14 school year.

•Accepted resignations from Angela Coleman as secretary at the middle school, effective Sept. 6; William Saltsgaver, boys’ soccer coach, effective last month; Beth Schneider, middle school girls’ tennis coach, effective immediately; Laura Shireman, middle school health and P.E. teacher and girls’ JV basketball coach, effective Sept. 6; and Karen Pearson, high school cafeteria work, effective Sept. 10.

•Approved appointments of Rebecca Dean, NHES teacher; Lori Wetzel, middle school secretary; Regina Luallen, instructional assistant; Alyce Young, part-time middle school cafeteria worker; Clint Clark, boys’ soccer coach; Michael Napper, seventh-grade volunteer volleyball coach; Tammy Bennett, sixth-grade volunteer girls’ basketball coach; Shane Bennett, sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach; David Medina, volunteer assistant soccer coach; Amanda Jones, instructional assistant at MES; Jennifer Carr, part-time instructional assistant at MES; Mark Lamon, varsity softball coach; Rodney Shehorn, volunteer assistant boys’ soccer coach; Mandy Bean, part-time cafeteria worker at MES; Kevin Jones, middle school health and P.E. teacher and girls’ JV basketball coach; Alan Reed, girls’ varsity basketball assistant coach; and Ron Hamby, boys’ volunteer varsity basketball assistant.

The school board’s next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.