When the South Ripley School Board of Trustees met for their November meeting there was cause for celebration.
The Indiana Department of Education has given South Ripley schools an "A" rating. The students, teachers, staff, and administration have worked together to achieve this goal, according to Superintendent Rob Moorhead.
Rodney Hite, junior high principal, noted that the staff has really looked at what was working and where they can improve. He said they have also been working closely with the parents and students and focused in on the areas that needed improvement.
Elementary School Principal Mark Collier said the staff at all three buildings – the elementary, junior and senior high - have worked very hard. He also praised the students for their responsibility to the effort of getting the high rating.
Zach Raab was named the recipient of the DAR Good Citizen Award at the meeting. Superintendent Moorhead congratulated Raab, stating this award is one of the highest honors a student can receive.
High school principal Bob Meyer stated that Raab is very deserving of this award. Raab was presented with a certificate of recognition and a small gift.
Under personnel, the following changes were unanimously approved:
• Resignation of Rob Dicken as technology director, effective Nov. 30.
• Non-FMLA leave of absence for Frank Hilberg, retro-active effective to Oct. 9 and through Jan. 2, 2013.
• Employment of Travis Wrightsman to fill the JV Softball Coach position for the 2012-2013 season, effective immediately.
• Resignation of Meganmarie Dennis as the high school girls cross country coach, effectively immediately.
Under financial concerns, the following was unanimously approved:
• A resolution to transfer money from the transportation fund to the rainy day fund in the amount of $130,812.00.
• Merritt Alcorn, school attorney, spoke with IRS agent Diane Eckard recently and the IRS has corrected their error regarding the tax exemption of South Ripley Schools. The corporation is a public entity, not subject to taxation.
• Alcorn stated that South Ripley had recently received the third and final year renewal rates from Indiana Insurance on the insurance package for the school including property, liability, worker compensation, and vehicle insurance. A 26.1% increase is being charged by Indiana Insurance. Alcorn will draft a letter to this insurance company noting that this large of an increase does not represent an inflationary increase of the market.
In other news, the following were discussed and unanimous approval given:
• Administrative/none-certified committee member Randy McIntosh spoke on behalf of the committee. They recently reviewed non-certified pay rates in the area, as directed by the board motion at the Nov. 2011 meeting. The recommendation from the committee is to have a 1% across the board hourly rate increase retro-active to July 1, 2012, for non-certified staff members. This does not include corporation bus drivers, as their pay structure was addressed prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year. This includes pay increases to the hourly rates for the positions of student data coordinator, junior high secretary/corporation bookstore manager, high school treasurer and corporation deputy treasurer, payroll clerk, and superintendent secretary.
• The committee also recommended an increase to the salaried position of transportation/building/grounds director retro-active to July 1, 2012.
• The committee recommended the board contribution be increased to pay 2% (1/4) of the 8% increase on the Anthem health insurance for the 2013 premiums.
• The committee reviewed salaries and recommended a three-year plan to get South Ripley salaries to a desired level, based on salaries in other schools of similar size. Included in these adjustments will be the salaries for the positions of high school principal, junior high principal, and business manager/treasurer. A one-year contract extension was approved for the athletic director position.
• Approval was given to enter into a Technology Managed Services agreement with Five-Star Technology Solutions, effective Dec. 3 for a one-year period.
• Approval was given for the distribution of information and implementation of a free cardiac screening program for South Ripley High School athletes. The first screenings are scheduled to take place on April 23 and April 24. These screenings are sponsored by Giving Hearts a Hand Foundation and will be performed by Margaret Mary Community Hospital.
Superintendent Moorhead reported that a notice was received by the Town of Versailles regarding a public hearing for final action on a tax abatement for a retail business building. The Town of Versailles has been awarded a grant through the Safe Routes to School program. Moorhead will serve as a member of the grant committee as required by the grant.
South Ripley will be offering a Hepatitis B vaccination clinic to meet the obligations to offer this series at no cost to school employees and lay coaches. The clinic will be administered by Margaret Mary Community Hospital.
Those attending this meeting were Merritt Alcorn, Robert Garcia, Gil Landwehr, Keith Mathews, Randy McIntosh, Jim Miller, Lana Miller, Rob Moorhead, Tim Taylor and Becky Turner.
The next meeting will be Dec. 17 at 6:00 p.m. This will be followed with the annual Christmas party at Clifty Inn in Madison.
The January 2013 regular board meeting will be Jan. 14, 2013, to meet the state mandate of reorganizing the board prior to Jan. 15, 2013.