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Schools told to 'reset' budgets

February 24, 2010
Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent of the Crawford County Community School Corp., Thursday night passed along some bleak financial information to the corporation's board of trustees during its regular monthly meeting at Milltown Elementary School.

Eastridge said that Lance Rhodes, chief financial officer for the Indiana Department of Education, at this month's State Board of Education meeting, said school corporations should consider the announced funding cuts from the state to be permanent and, therefore, should plan accordingly.

"He said school corporations are going to need to look at a 'reset'," Eastridge said, adding that was the first time he's heard that term used in reference to the school budget.

"He said, 'Don't look at this as if, OK, we're going to weather this for a year or two and the funding levels will be back to where they were. You need to look at a reset on the benefits, what you do, the people that you have. You just need to look at a reset, meaning don't expect the funding levels to go back up because the money's just not there in the state'," Eastridge said.

He previously told school trustees that Crawford County, because of almost $300 million in cuts to state education in 2010, should expect to operate with $572,709 less in its General Fund when compared to 2009.

Eastridge, who was at the State Board of Education's meeting with three of the corporation's principals and school board president Debbie Kaiser to make a presentation detailing the school system's academic achievements, added that, when the topic of the meeting later turned to health insurance, he was asked about Crawford County's situation.

"Whenever I said that we've got in the neighborhood of $3 million in an $11 million budget (tied up), there was sort of a shock in the room," he said.

Eastridge said he later received an e-mail from an associate of Rhodes' wanting to further discuss the school's health care costs.

School trustees, however, also were told about the positive news from the state meeting. Milltown Elementary Principal Tami Geltmaker played a video of the presentation she, Eastridge, English Principal Debbie Ade and Leavenworth Principal Mike Key made.

Crawford County was invited to give the "Spotlight School" presentation by the state board because of its recent academic successes, including federal No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School awards for Milltown and Leavenworth, with English receiving a nomination, and Four Star School awards for Leavenworth and Milltown.

"Just to know that their efforts were being recognized like that ... it was quite moving," Kaiser said.

In other matters, the school board:

•Voted 7-0 to approve the following consent agenda items:

—The following athletic appointments: Mark Boone, girls' varsity track coach; Eric Emerson, boys' varsity track coach; Jessica Benham, junior high girls' track coach; Jeff Crecelius, boys' varsity golf coach; Tyler Griffith, volunteer assistant golf coach; and Michael Barron, volunteer assistant baseball coach.

—The following sponsors at Milltown Elementary: Bonnie Philips, Battle of the Books; Sherry Schulz, Geo Bowl; and Kimberly Sitter, Spell Bowl.

—Ruth Ory as a homebound teacher for a student.

—Milltown Elementary's request to take students to Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., on May 12, 13 and 14.

—Changing the April board meeting to Monday, April 19.

—Submitting an AdvancED district accreditation application.

—CARES's request to take students to Wayside Christian Mission in Louisville on March 5 and 6.

—Paying employee Patsy Stroud the difference in pay for her work filling in for the head of facilities.

—The Business Professionals of America's request to attend the annual state conference in Indianapolis.

—Pam Carnes' retirement notice, effective at the end of the school year.

•Were notified by American Legion Post 332 representatives Tony Mace and Eddie Wetzel that the Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars wish to provide each of the corporation's schools with $100 to be used for student field trips. They also indicated they would like to give the school a POW/MIA flag to fly.

The board approved both.

•Were notified by Eastridge that Michell Timperman Ritz Architects will be featured in the Business First publication in March and has chosen its Crawford County science classrooms renovation project to be spotlighted.

•Were told by Eastridge that Crawford County Junior-Senior High School had the fourth highest graduation rate increase in the state in 2009, not the second highest as he earlier said.

•Instructed Eastridge, at the request of trustee Lee Holzbog, to draft a letter of congratulations to the varsity girls' basketball team and coach Alan Cox for a successful season. The Lady Pack advanced to the sectional final, before losing a close game to Charlestown.

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