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A-C, parking lot move budget down agenda at school meeting

The North Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees met last Wednesday for a special meeting regarding the school’s advertised 2002 budget, but an air-conditioner malfunction and the new school parking lot turned out to be major topics of discussion.
A 40-ton air-conditioner compressor failed at the high school two weeks ago, prompting several days with temperatures at 80 degrees or above. Most homes are cooled with only a two- or three-ton compressor, Supt. Monty Schneider said. The current air-conditioning system is not designed to cool the school to 70 degrees when the temperature outside is as high as 90 degrees, Schneider said. It should, however, cool to at least 75 or 76 degrees, but that wasn’t happening, and students suffered through overheated school days.
The school corporation attempted to repair the compresser and failed, which slowed down the repair process. After a few days, the new 40-ton compressor was installed, sending things back to normal.
Aside from the compressor, the new parking lot at the school, which has 20 to 25 more spaces than the old, has required some people to do some adjusting, said Assistant Supt. Ed Pitman.
“You’ve got to understand, it’s so much, so much safer than that zoo that was out here,” Pitman said. He said the school is fortunate that no one was injured or killed in the old parking lot, and although the new lot is less convenient, safety has improved greatly and makes the project worthwhile.
Budget and personnel matters were also discussed.
Because the school only plans to spend about 92 percent of its current budget, the school is requesting only a three-percent budget increase rather than the customary five-percent.
“Budgets can always be cut from what was listed in the paper, but nothing can be raised,” said Schneider. For that reason, he proposed a tax rate of $5.97 per $100 of assessed value, but he expects that will drop to $5.29 as it did last year.
The school is also considering the possibility of receiving county riverboat revenue for the school’s debt service, which would lower the tax rate even more. County officials are racing to make a decision about funding the schools before Sept. 20, the deadline for the school to submit a budget proposal to the state.
Considering the chance that money could be allocated after Sept. 20, Schneider said, “There is a possibility we could petition it to Indianapolis, because just because it leaves here, the state doesn’t do anything with it until about December.”
Also discussed was pay for substitute teachers, which has not been raised since 1998, when it was set at $55 per day for all substitutes. Schneider recommended that the pay be raised to $65 per day for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and $60 per day for persons without a bachelor’s degree. The board voted 4-0 in favor of the change. (Kathy Mott was not present, due to illness.)
Other personnel matters included:
* Kyle Eckart was approved as high school social studies teacher, replacing Jeremy Kirkham. Eckart also coaches high school football.
* Charlotte Alexander, resource teacher at the high school, was named senior class sponsor.
* Lisa Voyles, LD teacher at the high school, was recommended as assistant student council sponsor. This position was not filled because a salary needs to be negotiated with the teachers’ association.
* Ron Snyder, a teacher at the middle school, was named weight room coordinator for the fall semester.
* Kim Guy was accepted as an elementary teacher on temporary contract during the maternity leave of Mona Blessinger. Alicia Lasley had previously been approved for this position but accepted full-time employment elsewhere.
* Steve Milby was approved as lay assistant guard director with the band.
* Hank Rothrock was named lay assistant guard director for the band.
* Nancy Perryman was accepted as school nurse. Perryman has 25 years of nursing experience.