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NHES project ready for bids; bargaining again underway for North’s teachers

A ‘milestone’ has been reached in the renovation of the North Harrison Elementary School, Jerry Firestone, director of educational planning for RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects, announced Thursday night at the meeting of the North Harrison Community School Corp. board meeting. ‘We’re ready to move into the next phase, which is the bidding.’
Three of the five school trustees voted to approve the construction documents submitted by RQAW. Gary Byrne, who opposes the project, which includes remodeling the existing classrooms and adding a second story for additional classrooms, voted against the motion to approve, and Bobby Chinn, who was ill, was absent.
A legal notice seeking bids for the project appears today in this newspaper. Bids will be opened Jan. 24 at 1 p.m. in the North Harrison High School library, said Monty Schneider, North Harrison superintendent.
Firestone said RQAW met with NHES staff the week before so they could have final input before the drawings were submitted to the school board for final approval.
Also at last week’s meeting, the school trustees approved the establishment of a ‘rainy day’ fund. Schneider said other Indiana school corporations, including Lanesville Community School Corp., have already done this.
The state approved the establishment of rainy day funds a few years ago, allowing up to 10 percent of the school corporation’s budget to be set aside for emergencies.
Schneider said it allows for more ‘flexibility’ and he can transfer funds without having to ask for additional appropriations.
Also at the meeting, during public comment, Greg Rupp, a fourth grade teacher at NHES and president of the North Harrison Classroom Teachers Association, said he was glad to be back at the bargaining table.
(North Harrison teachers are operating on a contract that expired about three years ago.)
‘We’re hoping for a positive outcome,’ Rupp said. ‘It’s been a long time in coming.’
Rupp also questioned the board about Supt. Schneider’s contract, which expires in June.
‘Even though Monty and the school association don’t always agree, I think Monty’s a fair person,’ Rupp said. ‘I think his contract should be extended.’
Schneider responded that the board has discussed an extension with him, but at the time, Schneider wasn’t sure that was what he wanted. The board hasn’t voted to extend the superintendent’s contract due to Schneider’s reluctance, he said.
In other matters Thursday night, the trustees:
‘ Accepted a $1,725 donation from the Indiana Dept. of Education’s Reading Is Fundamental grant for Morgan Elementary School. Title I teacher Carla Trotter wrote the grant, which requires a $575 match, which the MES PTO will pay. MES Principal Lance Richards said the grant is very specific about how the money can be spent. The school will use the funds to purchase a book for each student in the school.
‘ Authorized the transfer of funds from accounts that have balances to those that need additional money to pay year-end bills. This housekeeping item is generally done each year at this time, as budgets are made about 18 months ahead of schedule.
‘ Approved the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources’ proposal to bid a tree harvest. The trees, mostly cherry, are located to the north and east of the bus compound. Money received from the harvest would be deposited into the school corporation’s general fund.
‘ Authorized the advertisement for a temporary loan, not to exceed $5 million, in anticipation of a delay in the 2007 tax revenue payments from Harrison and Crawford counties, as well as the state. Schneider said he asked for authorization last year but the loan was not needed. North Harrison did obtain a loan a couple of years prior to 2005.
‘ Accepted resignations from Joe Dones, as middle school boys tennis coach, and Cliff Dawson, as assistant football coach and weight-room coordinator.
Three students expressed to the board their disappointment of Dawson’s resignation.