Key ‘disappointed’ but calls closing right decision
By Chris Adams, Contributing Writer
Addressing the Crawford County Community School Corp.’s decision to temporarily move to virtual learning due to three positive COVID-19 cases, Superintendent Mike Key, at the Sept. 15 board of trustees meeting, said he was disappointed but that it was the right decision.
“I couldn’t express anymore disappointment to our community than many of them could imagine in having to shut our school system down,” he said. “It was a necessity.”
All students switched to virtual learning on Sept. 11.
Key said he received many emails asking why this situation is different from when the corporation had two positive cases earlier in the school year.
“The previous situation, fortunately, did not involve transportation,” he said. “This situation very much impacted transportation.”
Whereas the previous two positive cases involved separate schools and could be handled by both individuals quarantining, all three of the most recent positive cases were at Crawford County High School.
Key assured those at the meeting in the CCHS media center that officials are “going to try to do everything we can to crank it back up when we can.”
In-person classes are scheduled to resume Oct. 12. Key, however, said that athletics, which also were shut down, could resume before then.
“The tail end of this shutdown is actually two eLearning days that were built in and our fall break (Oct. 5 through 9). So, it looks longer than we’re really confined to,” he said, noting that in-person learning realistically could have resumed Oct. 1.
Key added that he planned to give parents an update later that week as well as this week.
Asked by Troy Wheeler, the school board’s president, if the corporation was providing students meals like it did when in-person classes were shut down last spring, Key said it was.
“We started our meal program today, and it will run through the next two Fridays,” he said, noting it will not be available the week of fall break.
Meal distribution will be at the corporation’s five schools on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone 18 or younger — not just Crawford County students — is eligible.
“I have to thank our cooks, that whole staff,” Key said. “They had to throw it into overdrive … but they met the challenge.”
In another matter, the board conducted a public hearing on the proposed 2021 budget. Time was given for the public to comment on the 2021 budget, the 2021-23 Capital Projects Plan and the 2021-25 Bus Replacement Plan; however, there were no comments.
After reconvening the regular meeting, the board, in separate motions, voted 5-0 to approve resolutions adopting the Capital Projects and Bus Replacement plans.
The 2021 budget is expected to be adopted at the board’s Oct. 20 meeting. The proposed budget is available for review on the Indiana Department of Local Government’s website at budgetnotices.in.gov.
In other business, the board:
•Voted 5-0, at Key’s request, to give him authority — after discussion with the Crawford County Classroom Teachers Association — to change the master contract due to limitations from COVID-19.
“This would include any change with eLearning standards under the (state) statute,” Key said.
•Approved, 5-0, the following consent agenda items:
— Resignations of Misty DeWeese, library aide at West Crawford Elementary School; Lisa Striegel, Math Bowl coach and P.L. 221 chair at WCES; Eric Summers, Spell Board Coach at South Crawford Elementary School; Cheri VanMeter, library aide at SCES; Jennifer Carrico, softball coach at CCHS; and Kevin Milligan, seventh-grade boys’ basketball coach at Crawford County Middle School.
—The following recommendations from CCHS Principal Brandon Johnson: Brandon Pace, boys’ varsity assistant basketball coach; Trey Hudson, boys’ junior varsity basketball coach; Brandon Bowman, boys’ varsity volunteer assistant basketball coach; Jason Sturgeon, girls’ junior varsity basketball coach; Cheyenne Lang, head varsity cheerleading coach; Samantha Sines, varsity cheerleading volunteer assistant coach; Mark Boone, head cross-country coach; Michael Carlisle, varsity assistant football coach; Joe Elliott, junior varsity football coach; Kyia Oppel, varsity softball coach; Pam Beckman, boys’ head tennis coach; Julie Adams, varsity volleyball coach; and Laken Fraime, junior varsity volleyball coach.
—The following recommendations from CCMS Principal Brandy Stroud: Jason Wolf, sixth-grade girls’ basketball coach; Steve Hilgartner, seventh-grade girls’ basketball coach; Paul Broughton, eighth-grade girls’ basketball coach; Nick Coultas, head middle school football coach; Jason Stroud, assistant middle school football coach; Terri Mitchell, seventh- and eighth-grade cheerleading sponsor; Debbie Ruble, middle school boys’ tennis coach; Tanya Roser, seventh-grade girls’ volleyball coach; Jason Sturgeon, eighth-grade girls’ volleyball coach; Tony Bell, seventh-grade boys’ basketball coach; and Kevin Milligan, eighth-grade boys’ basketball coach.
—The following recommendations from SCES Principal Amy Etienne: Chelsea Bowman, cross-country coach; Daniel Fraley, boys’ basketball coach; Eric Summers, Battle of the Books coach; and Megan Crawford, Spell Bowl coach.
—The following recommendations of East Crawford Elementary School Principal Tarra Carothers: Carolyn Pitman, girls’ basketball coach; Kevin Pitman, boys’ basketball coach; and Laura Pellman, cross-country coach.
—The following recommendations from WCES Principal Amanda Wright: Chasity Wiseman, Public Law 221 chair; Amanda Hanger, Math Bowl coach; Troy Mason, girls’ basketball coach; Justin Hensley, boys’ basketball coach; Sarah Patton, girls’ cross-country coach; and Kimberly Novak, girls’ track coach.
—Program Director Amy Belcher’s recommendation of Jana Wiseman as E.L. teacher of record with a one-time stipend of $2,000 per year.
—Assistant Superintendent Jamie Smith’s recommendation of an addendum of 9.8 miles for bus driver Delanie King due to the state highway curbside pick-up/drop-off law.
At Etienne’s request, the board publicly expressed appreciation to VanMeter, the retiring library aide at SCES, for her 31 years of service to the school corporation.
Key, who served as principal at SCES when it was the former Leavenworth Elementary School, praised VanMeter.
“She’s one of those people that just quietly moves around you but does an excellent job, and we’ll miss her,” he said.
The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.