HNHS renovation, alternative school discussion top school board meeting

The Huntington County Community School Board of Trustees discussed numerous topics and approved the release of its 2010 budget during its meeting on Monday, Aug. 24.

Huntington County Red Cross Program Director Christine Kelty presented information on CPR classes the school corporation is talking about offering to staff and students.

While presenting, Kelty said she is excited about the opportunity to get the schools involved in the training.

A committee is to be formed of community members regarding the Phase II renovation project and facility improvements being discussed for Huntington North High School. David McKee, assistant superintendent for business, said the committee should provide its input on proposed projects regarding what members want to see and what could be improved.

What information committee members will be given, such as needs and studies, will be decided upon the committee's formation, but after the meeting Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer said the committee will need to know the board's vision, mission and goals prior to making any decisions. Members will be informed of the background of the areas being considered, such as the cafeteria and remodeling classrooms for a technology-based classroom of New Tech, which integrates technology into the curriculum.

Shafer also said the committee members will need to understand the costs that are involved as well.

Then they will open it up and have the committee prioritize what they think can improve the curriculum.

The board decided Monday it wants to hear what the committee comes up with at the end of its time by allowing the members to present their information at a board meeting.

The budget for 2010 was released as well. It is being advertising as $53,629,164, with $37,971,119 of that being the general fund. Twenty-six percent of the budget is from property taxes, with the other 74 percent of the funding coming from other revenue.

Also during the meeting, the motion to pass an all-inclusive, $20,000 a year lease for a new space for the alternative school was defeated 4-2.

Voting yes were members Dr. Jennifer Goff and Troy Smart.
Voting with the majority were President Kevin Patrick, Vice President Rick Brubaker and members Scott Hoffman and Rex Baxter.

The alternative school is for those students that do not feel comfortable being in a traditional school setting, Shafer also said after the meeting. The primary reason for students participating in this school, he explained, is because they are not successful for a variety of reasons in the traditional setting. Some students need a flexible schedule and some are in danger of dropping out, he said.

The curriculum is broken down as well, so the students are earning their core credits to graduate.

The topic of leasing a new property had not been presented to the board for discussion prior to Monday.

Patrick said he visited the current space being used for the school, which is located behind the Vocational Tech building beside the smaller Huntington North baseball diamond, on Monday before the meeting and said the space he saw seemed to fit the students all right, as opposed to Shafer's view of the space being too small.

Shafer said the school needs conference space, a lab and an office.

The current space being used consists of two portable classrooms that have approximately 2, 000 square feet. The leasing space proposed is 4,000 square feet and is located across the bypass, which Patrick said is a hazard for students wishing to ride their bikes to school.

Baxter said his concern is once the check is signed, it's done and that he personally feels that leasing is never the route to take.

Patrick said he was "disappointed and frustrated" that the chance to discuss the project was not presented and he wants more than one option to consider.

Hoffman suggested adding on to the vocational building (next to where the alternative school is currently located), but Shafer said the corporation can't provide the necessary funding and that it could cost between $80 and $100 per square foot to make that addition. Hoffman then said he wants to see solid numbers in an estimate for such a project.