Transportation director of South Ripley schools resigns

Karen Reynolds
Contributing Writer

At the September meeting of the South Ripley Community School Corporation Board of Trustees the resignation of Rose Morton as transportation director was accepted.

It was noted that elementary principal Mark Collier had assumed many of the responsibilities of the transportation department in the absence of a director. He reminded the board that many other people have stepped up to provide assistance as well.

Under patrons concerns, Frank Hillberg, bus driver, stated he was acting as the spokesperson for the corporation bus drivers. He felt that last school year when he requested to be put on the agenda, he was met with resistance.

Hillberg requested that issues with the bus drivers for the 2010/2011 school year be put on October’s agenda and that a meeting take place with Dr. John Mehrle, superintendent, and Mark Collier, elementary school principal. All parties involved were agreeable to both of these ideas.

Mrs. Paulette Hillberg, wife of Frank, spoke as a citizen and as a parent. She asked that there be an open and honest professional conversation with the bus drivers to resolve what she called “safety issues” with the children and the buses. She stated that “our children are important and they can sense when there is conflict.”

Vice-President of the board, Randy McIntosh stated that the corporation would be looking at the entire transportation department moving forward from this point.

Under financial news, the following agenda items were decided unanimously:

• Financial report approved.

• Recommendation to adopt the 2011 Capital Projects and Bus Replacement Plan.

• Approval of building project expenditures in the amount of $31,568.29 as submitted.

• Approval to release all retainage funds from the escrow accounts.

All budgets will be adopted at the October meeting.

Under personnel changes, the following was approved unanimously:

• Resignation of Greg Huntington from the position of Boys Varsity Golf Coach effective immediately.

Under education changes, the following was approved unanimously:

• Approval of the 2011-2015 bus route descriptions, regulations, and approval to advertise for bids.

A pre-bid information meeting was held September 27 with bid night set for October 11.

• Approval for the FFA to attend the National FFA Convention October 18-23. Students will rotate attendance daily throughout the week.

• Approval for the Student Council to attend the Indiana Association of Student Council’s State Convention November 12-14 at Garrett High School.

Under information items, the following was discussed:

• Action on the drainage project was tabled until another time.

• The teacher’s health insurance renewal information from United Healthcare includes an increase of 24.93%. Plan alternatives will be explored to possibly reduce this increase.

• Student count on membership count day was down by approximately 55 students.

• The Education Jobs funding will provide South Ripley with one time funding in the amount of $267,088.00.

• Ms. Scherzinger was awarded a $700 grant from CVS towards reading program software.

• The elementary cafeteria was awarded a grant in the amount of $36,895 from the Department of Education for an outdoor walk-in freezer.

• Elementary Assistant Principal Amy Linkel presented ISTEP scores, strengths, weaknesses and goals for improvement.

• High school principal Bob Meyer also shared high school ISTEP+ scores along with their goals and strategies.

• High school guidance counselor Anne Poling shared information about dual credit and advanced placement.

• Hal Kovert is working on the legal specifications for the bid process for additional parking at the high school.

• Dr. Mehrle shared a letter sent to Bruns-Gutzwiller regarding possible cracks in the parking lot at the high school.

Attending the September meeting were board members Robert Garcia, Gil Landwehr, Keith Mathews, Randy McIntosh, Jim Miller, and Tim Taylor. Dr. John Mehrle was in attendance as well as school attorney, Merritt Alcorn and business manager, Lana Miller.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be October 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the central offices of the South Ripley School Corporation.

At a special called meeting on September 28, the recommendation of approval of a drainage project at the high school met with unanimous board approval. Sedam Contracting Company was awarded the bid with a cost of $29,520. This will be paid for with Building Project monies.