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Meeting full of good news, uncertainty

Eastridge urges prudence as lawmakers struggle with state budget

June 24, 2009
The work is difficult, but for those willing to put in the effort, the reward is a headstart on their future.

Cindy Cain and Marg Meyer, guidance counselors at Crawford County High School, last Tuesday night told the school corporation's board of trustees that students are taking advantage of the growing Advanced Placement and Dual Credit programs at the school.

The programs allow students the opportunity to receive college credit. Those who pass classes offered through Vincennes University's Project LINK immediately receive credit toward both their high school and college transcripts. Those who pass and then score high enough on an end-of-year exam in Advanced Placement offerings via The Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities at Ball State University have the opportunity to test out of lower level courses once they enter college.

Current offerings include biology, calculus, American history and speech.

Classes are taught via interactive two-way video but also can be offered at the school if taught by an Advanced Placement-certified teacher. CCHS has an AP-certified chemistry instructor and will begin offering that course this fall. The school anticipates having one of its science teachers certified to teach AP biology by the 2010-11 school year.

Community First Bank has helped defray costs of the program, with students only responsible for their textbooks.

Cain said the college-level courses are more difficult than typical high school classes, and not every student who enrolls meets the requirements. However, the challenge better prepares students for college, she said.

"I think we're headed in the right direction," Cain said.

Kim Grizzel, director of the CARES program, which provides activities for kindergarten through eighth-grade students before and after school, as well as during the summer, on the agenda to give an update, told the board things are going well.

"I really don't have a lot to say, and that's the best news because we are secure for four more years," she said.

The CARES program has struggled financially through the years, as the grants that have funded it have expired. However, CARES is in the midst of a new grant cycle, securing the program for the foreseeable future, she said.

Grizzel said Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill recently visited the program and talked with children and staff, including a representative from the Crawford County Youth Service Bureau with whom CARES is partnering. The congressman stayed to have lunch with the children, she said.

"It went really well," Grizzel said, adding as is the program as a whole.

"Everything's peachy keen," she said.

Everything, however, isn't peachy keen regarding the school's financial future, Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge told the board and audience.

Eastridge, who spoke before the House Ways and Means Committee a couple of weeks ago and to the Democratic Caucus earlier that day, said the governor's proposed budget would be "devastating" to the school corporation. The budget would cut Crawford County's revenue by $850,000 by 2011, he said.

The board had planned on voting on administrative staff contracts but chose not to considering the financial uncertainty.

"Prudence would dictate we are very conservative" for the time being, Eastridge said.

Administrative staff contracts are already in place for the 2009-10 school year, he said.

In other matters, the school board:

•Voted 6-0 (Lucas Stroud was absent) to approve the following items:

—The resignations of Carly Kaiser as seventh-grade volleyball coach, Erin Hammond as cheerleading sponsor at Leavenworth Elementary School, Rebecca Pierson as a music aide, Kristyn Chanley as a Title I instructional assistant, Mary Fetz as the corporation's representative to the Crawford County Public Library board and Sharon Mitchell as an office aide at Patoka Elementary School.

—An agreement to provide summer baseball and softball for Crawford County Community School Corp. and Crawford County Little League Inc. for 2009, with Lonnie Presley as girls' softball coach and Greg Gogel as boys' baseball coach. The two were already providing these services.

—The maternity leave request of Brooke Mohr from approximately Sept. 2 through Oct. 15.

—A contract with J.C. Tucker to have him again serve as corporation attorney in 2009-10.

—Revisions to the Crawford County Elementary School Handbook for the 2009-10 school year.

—Revisions to the Patoka Elementary School Handbook for 2009-10.

—The English Elementary School Family Handbook.

—Permission to seek a tax anticipation warrant.

—Keeping the price of student lunches at $1.75 for the 2009-10 school year but increasing the cost of student breakfasts from $1.05 to $1.25, adult breakfasts from $1.30 to $1.50 and adult lunches from $2.15 to $2.75.

—The presented Administrative Office Contingency Controls and Disaster Recovery Plan.

—CIGNA long-term disability.

—Accepting computer equipment that was acquired at no cost through the Computers for Learning Program as a transfer of excess computer equipment from the Kentucky Consular Center.

—Hiring Mitchell & Stark, which provided the low quote, to do piping and equipment work at the wastewater treatment plant at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.

•Voted 6-0 to accept the low quote, from Southern Indiana Paving, of $17,990 to provide a one-coat sealing, patching and striping of the parking lot at CCJSHS.

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