Melissa Alexander is all smiles as she does what she loves best, teaching science at South Ripley Junior Senior High School. She was recognized for her outstanding work at the February meeting of the South Ripley School Board.

SR teacher receives recognition at mtg.

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Melissa Alexander, science teacher at South Ripley Jr. Sr. High School, was commended at the regular session of the South Ripley School Board meeting held February 16.

First, Superintendent Ted Ahaus recognized Alexander for being named a Bayer-NSTA Fellow by the National Science Teacher Association. She will travel to New Orleans for an “all-expenses paid” trip to the national conference in March. She was given a certificate of recognition, a pin, and Raider sticker. Then, Principal Bob Meyer thanked the teacher for the excellent job she does in the classroom and presented her with a Raider umbrella.

Ahaus recommended the 2008-2009 Transfer Tuition Policy be waived due to a special circumstance. A family outside the school corporation has two children that have attended South Ripley for the past three years as tuition students. Their enrollment was “grandfathered” when the “no new transfer” policy was adopted in July 2008.

As of January 1, 2009, these students no longer owe tuition because the State of Indiana is funding the entire General Fund. However, the family has recently gained guardianship of another child and has asked that the child be permitted to attend South Ripley as well. But, since this student was not present in 2008, state guidelines dictate tuition be charged for 2009 educational expenses. This policy of “transfer tuition” as a whole will be reviewed in the near future. The request passed with Tim Taylor abstaining.

Personnel changes unanimously approved at the meeting were:

• Resignation of Donna Perry as Special Education teacher at South Ripley High School effective at the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

• Resignation of Mary Krumm as School Nurse effective at the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

• Family Medical Leave for Pat Sproessig, retroactive from January 14-30.

• Family Medical Leave for Barb Shadday, retroactive from January 28-February 11.

• Family Medical Leave for Lori Linkmeyer, retroactive from February 9-22.

• Family Medical Leave for Carole Swinney from March 10-April 21.

• Volunteer basketball coach position to be given to Curtis Stephen for the spring 2009 season.

Under financial news:

• The monthly claims submitted to MainSource Bank for the building project were $1,340,365.00.

• Unanimous approval was given to rewrite the mowing specifications based on a three year contract, accept new bids, and have authority to advertise the new specifications in the local newspaper.

• Approval was given with one abstention by Randy McIntosh to accept land lease specifications for 30.2 acres of tillable farm land the corporation owns and to advertise for proposals. These land lease specifications will be written in such a way that the winning proposal would need to include the “right” for the corporation to reclaim the land, if need be. The farmer would be compensated for the crops at a value of a completed crop. Merritt Alcorn, attorney for the corporation, will continue to pursue the matter. Specifications submitted would be required to have proof of insurance.

Board members thanked the community for their support of the building project. The gymnasium, being only a small part of the building project, is the first visual available for the public view. It was reported that the community seemed pleased with their first glimpse of the project on Homecoming night, February 14. This was a practice run with 1800 people in the new gymnasium. All the concessions available sold. Many people were complimentary about the gym and the gym lobby. Some comments that were heard were things like “practical” and “appropriate”. Ahaus stated that one community member was pleased by the easy access for wheelchair bound people.

Approval was given unanimously to accept the revised operating agreement with the Southeastern Career Center. The language of the agreement was updated when the SCC was recently audited.

Under information items:

• According to Ahaus, renewal rates from Delta Dental include a 4.5% decrease effective March 1. Also, there will be a change in the way billing will be done. Checks are to be mailed directly to dentists. The corporation will stay with Delta Dental for now but may put it up for bids in the fall of 2009.

• Dr. John Mehrle, assistant superintendent, shared school improvement information for the corporation. He distributed a book, “The Path of Least Resistance for Managers” written by Robert Fritz to all board members. He explained the intent of the book is to graphically organize and align businesses and schools by setting goals and pushing to advance toward those goals. Some of the ideas penned by Fritz such as telescoping will be used corporation-wide to help organize school improvement plans. This book has been used by many other schools to improve and organize their policies concerning school improvements.

• Dr. Mehrle informed the board he had recently attended a budget workshop, saying he had “learned a lot.”

• Ahaus shared information about junior high scheduling for next school year. He explained that one of the major goals with the building project was to isolate the junior high students within their own area. A series of meetings have been held with staff and administration. All options are being considered including sharing staff with neighboring schools and possibly hiring retired teachers to teach 1-2 periods a day.

Members present were Gil Landwehr, Keith Mathews, Randy McIntosh, Jim Miller, Ralph Miller, and Tim Taylor. The next regularly scheduled school board meeting will be March 16 at 6:30 p.m.