School board splits district preschool program to two schools for next year

In an effort to free up more space at one Huntington County Community School Corporation elementary school, the board of school trustees has agreed to split the district’s preschool program and run it at two different schools.

The move received unanimous support during the board’s 17-minute-long regular meeting Monday, Feb. 11, after Superintendent Randy Harris said the preschool’s current location, Flint Springs Elementary School, has become cramped for space.

“With the redistricting and things we went through last year, this is more or less a tweaking of it,” he told the board. “Flint Springs doesn’t have any extra space there and we need a little room, and we do have a little space at Lincoln.”

Currently there are four preschool teachers and multiple sections, Harris explained, recommending that it be split between Lincoln Elementary School and Flint Springs, with each school having two teachers. The change would be effective with the 2019-2020 school year.

With the move, preschool students who are ages 3, 4 and 5 in Lincoln, Salamonie and Horace Mann districts will likely attend the program at Lincoln, while those in Flint Springs, Roanoke and Andrews districts will remain at Flint Springs Elementary. Both schools will offer the same program, Harris said, including services for special needs students.

Harris said HCCSC is required by federal and state law to provide preschool for those with special needs. The district supplements that mandate by adding what he called “typical” students in the program.

“Our goal is to get that about 50-50,” he said. “There’s no magic formula to that; in fact, there are some (school districts) that are all special ed. On an available basis, we will have what’s called ‘typical’ students also in those preschools.”

Special ed students are accepted into the preschool program on the date they reach their third birthday, he said, adding that HCCSC works with First Steps, a program of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services that provides early intervention services for kids from birth to 3 years who are experiencing developmental delays or disabilities.

In other business before the board, a short update was presented on the construction of the new Roanoke Elementary School. Harris said workers are building the walls of the school building.

“They’re progressing very well considering the winter we’ve had, and at this point we are extremely pleased with it,” he said. “We’ve lost about five days to the weather, which when you look at the whole thing and you plan on bad weather, we have lost some days but it’s not that they weren’t anticipated.”

Harris said the construction is still on track, and expected to be completed in the late spring of 2020.

The board also talked about updates to the employee handbook, but tabled the item for a future board meeting without taking any action.
Among notable personnel items on the agenda, the board accepted the resignation of Jamon Hanmel, assistant baseball coach at Huntington North High School, which was effective Jan. 28.

Chad Bedwell, who has worked with girls’ soccer at Riverview Middle School, also resigned effective Jan. 24.

New extracurricular employees are Sarah Kowalski, assistant swimming coach at Crestview Middle School and Bradley Buzzard, sixth grade girls’ basketball coach at Crestview.