Milan students recognized at mtg.

Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer

Milan student Billy Bruns was congratulated on being selected to receive the Indiana Career and Technical Education Award for Excellence at the regular board meeting of the Milan School Board on Monday, January 19. Bruns was nominated by the teachers at the Southeastern Career Center where he attends part of the day.

SCC Director Bradley Street noted, “Billy is an excellent student.” According to Street, Bruns was chosen from thousands of students in the state. “The award is based on scholarship, character, leadership, and proficiency,” said Street. Bruns will be recognized in the Indiana State Senate during a public ceremony on February 20.

Shelby Zornes was recognized by Interim Superintendent Gene Pitts for the honor to represent Milan schools as the Role Model for the tobacco free student campaign. According to Zornes, she attended an Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) workshop over Christmas break. She will speak to the elementary school as well as engagements within the community.

“Shelby is a good role model and an asset to the school,” said Principal Healy. “She is very busy projecting a tobacco free lifestyle to students and athletes.” The board received signed posters from Zornes.

The principals from each of the schools gave an update on the ISTEP scores to the board. Elementary Principal Jane Rogers said, “I am pleased with the academic achievement of the third and fourth grades.” She credited the success to the parents and staff.

According to Rogers, 75 third graders took the test with 91% passing the language arts portion and 87% passing the math portion. Out of the 93 fourth grade students who took the test, 81% passed the language arts portion and 87% passed the math portion. Rogers noted that these scores for both grades were above the state averages.

Middle School Principal Marty Layden prepared an ISTEP comparison chart that is used to track student progress. According to Layden, this shows a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The students also participate in acuity testing three times a year, which gives immediate feedback on any weaknesses allowing the teacher to work with the student in that area.

Starting with this year’s freshman class, students will no longer be required to take the GQE in order to graduate, according to Healy. Instead, students will be required to pass end-of-course assessment tests in English, algebra, and biology. Homeroom will become more academically focused, where teachers will have the same students during their high school career in order to build trust and camaraderie. A survey is currently being conducted in order to determine students’ study habits and technology capabilities.

The board held a discussion regarding the energy conservation program for the elementary school. Interim Superintendent Pitts recommended approval of the advertising of Request for Proposal in local papers January 22, 27, 29, and February 3. The board unanimously approved the recommendation. Pitts assured the board there would be 40 days from the time of proposals to make a decision on the program, giving the board time to investigate the proposals and halt the project if needed.

Pitts noted that the biggest disadvantage to the program is it would tie up approximately 80% of the capital projects for the next ten years. He also noted that by completing the project, most of the major problems at the elementary school will be fixed.

Regarding the cafeteria project for the middle school, Pitts noted that the cost would be approximately $750,000 and would include a separate serving and seating area. Presently, lunch times for middle school student begins at 10:15 a.m. affecting class scheduling.

Pitts told the board that he talked to Jerry Firestone, Triangle Design, about combining the middle school cafeteria project with the elementary school new office complex/kindergarten rooms project with a $2 million cap. He noted that any project over this amount will have to be a bond issue.

Estimating the tax of an additional $16.50 per year to a residential property owner, Pitts did not know what the taxes would be for commercial and agricultural properties. He told the board that a decision will need to be made in the near future if these projects were to be completed over the summer.
The board unanimously approved a 2.5% salary increase for the 2008-09 school year for teachers and administration. The salary increase of 2.5% for non-certified personnel and bus drivers was approved 4-0-1, with Randy Kirk abstaining.

The following field trip requests were unanimously approved: the special needs class to attend the Parkland Movie Theater on February 13 and student council members to attend L.E.A.D. conference in Tennessee over spring break.

In other business:

• Snow make up days will be February 16 and April 10.

• The lease agreement request from the Milan Scholarship Foundation for use of the cafeteria on April 5 was unanimously approved.

• The resignation of Shannon Wells, elementary Title I Aide, was approved, along with the recommendation to hire Elizabeth Cunningham as the replacement.

• Tresa Patz was unanimously approved as homebound instructor.

In closing statements, board member Randy Kirk spoke about the incident at a football game this past fall where he showed inappropriate behavior. He said that shortly after the incident, he took some time off from work for medical reasons, and worked with a counselor. “I’m striving towards being a better person,” he said. He also noted that he is working to better his relationship with middle school principal Marty Layden. He commended the coaches on gaining the respect of the athletes. “They work hard, and I’m proud of them,” he said.

Tim Tuttle thanked corporation attorney Larry Eaton for his work on the teachers' contracts, noting that he was pleased that the corporation was able to give a raise. Doug Norman expressed his desire to have public input regarding the proposed building projects. The public is welcome to view the blueprints and voice any suggestions.

All board members were in attendance, along with Larry Eaton to advise. The next meeting will be held on Monday, February 16 beginning at 7 p.m. in the administration building.

At the January meeting Milan School Board members congratulated senior Billy Bruns for being selected to receive the Indiana Career and Technical Education Award for Excellence in the secondary student category. He is one of ten students in the State of Indiana who will be recognized by the Indiana Senate in a ceremony on February 10. He is the son of Bill and Carrie Bruns of Milan. Pictured from left are: Randy Kirk, Greg Lewis, Bruns, Doug Norman, Ted Amberger, and Tim Tuttle.