Full-day kindergarten considered at LaVille

LAKEVILLE — When state funding for school corporations was cut drastically last year, Union-North United School Corporation Superintendent, Dr. Terry Barker, had to make some hard decisions to uphold his pledge to get the corporation's budget back into the black. One of the most controversial decisions was to reduce the kindergarten program to half-days rather than keep the full-day classes. During the school board meeting on Thursday night, Dr. Barker asked the board to approve reinstating the full-time program for the 2011-12 school year. Barker informed the board members that by participating in a state ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) grant; they will receive an additional $1,040 per student that will enable them to fund the expanded program. During the kindergarten round-up held a few weeks ago, 65 or so prospective students were signed up for LaVille Elementary for the next school year. LaVille Principal., John Farthing, said they were running more than 100 kindergarten students in previous years, but last year the number dropped to 75. Barker indicated that they would not be considering adding a teacher or looking at other options until the enrollment reaches 86 students. Administers will not know exactly how many enrollees they will have until registration Aug. 2. Farthing said anyone wanting information or to indicate their intention to have a kindergarten student at the elementary next year, should call the school office.
Barker said, "We are going to open the floodgates and hope families will return."
The board agreed with the decision and voted unanimously for the reinstatement. Last school year, 36 students corporationwide left for other school corporations.
In other business:
Dr. Barker presented the board with stipend recommendations for 2011 to be paid retroactivity. Barker said those certified staff with direct contact with students would receive $225 if they hold a bachelor's degree and $275 if they hold a master's degree. Administrators would be among those receiving a stipend. He also proposed that non-certified staff receive stipends depending upon the number of hours they are employed. He said the stipends for noncertified staff would range from $50 to $200. All proposed stipends would be a onetime payment. The board voted unanimously to approve the request.
The board approved hiring the Ft. Wayne firm of Barton-Coe and Vilamaa Architects and Engineers, Inc. to design Phase II of the renovations to the high school. Barker said they had only paid Hebard and Hebard Architects for Phase I. Board member David Grenert said he has been in contact with a community member familiar with the work done by Kari Vilamaa and indicated that he had been given a most favorable recommendation. The board voted 5-0 in approval.
The board also approved contracting with Ted Annis of Ted's Auction Center to dispose of surplus items. Barker said, "We have been packing items in the metal room, but we haven't gotten a full inventory yet." Barker indicated that they would like to hold the auction July 11. Annis will receive 15 percent of the proceeds. Other expenses associated with an auction include a $50 fee for a clerk, $50 fee for a cashier, and approximately $600-$700 for advertising. Barker said the cap on advertising would be set at $750. Barker said he had included the matter in the agenda as a discussion item rather than seeking a motion; however, Grenert made a motion to hire Annis so that they could secure the date. The board voted unanimously in favor.
The board accepted the resignation of math teacher Joseph Vanderppol, effective May 18, 2011. Due to decreased enrollment in Industrial Arts classes, the contract of teacher Tom Conrad will be reduced from full-time to a 64.28 percent starting with the 2011-2012 school year.