By Pam Robinson
Following a tearful reflection on the life of the late Andrew Duckworth, Mount Vernon School Board President Heather Allyn called for a moment of silence in remembrance of this well-loved MSD of Mount Vernon employee and community member.
Afterward, the board conducted business as usual. Their most significant vote of the evening – a unanimous vote – adopted the 2013 budgets, the resolution for the Capital Projects Fund Plan for 2013, 2014 and 2015, and the resolution for the School Bus Replacement Fund Plan for years 2013-2024 as advertised as well as adopted the resolution for appropriations and tax rates. In answer to board member Beth McFadin Higgins, Superintendent Tom Kopatich reported no written comments had been submitted on the budgets. Likewise, no one commented on the budgets during the public hearing held October 1.
Kopatich’s report on the state scoring of the district and its schools was equally as significant as the budget. The Indiana Department of Education, or DOE, ranks schools by scoring them A-F according to their performance in a number of areas. Kopatich emphasized, however, that his report provides unofficial scoring. The DOE will make scores official at the end of October–and some information may change.
Current information grades the schools as follows: Marrs (up from a B last year) and Farmersville both received A scores, while the remaining three schools in the district received C’s.
For both Mount Vernon Junior High and Mount Vernon High School, the C score shows improvement since last year: the junior high jumped from a D to a C, and the high school moved from the lowest C to a solid C. In one category, “preparing students for the future,” the high school earned an A, so Kopatich encouraged the community to look at the different areas that make up the score to get a good idea of a school’s strengths and areas needing improvement. West went down from a B to a C, so Kopatich said the school would be looking at the cause and working to remedy it.
The district score, soon to be determined, will fall between a B and a C. Supt. Kopatich said he and Jody Pfister, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, would provide a detailed presentation of the official DOE scoring results soon.
“Even though I’m very pleased with the direction the schools are moving,” Kopatich said after the meeting, “we’re striving for the ultimate goal of all A schools in an A district. We won’t be satisfied until we reach that level.”
In other business:
•Beth Russell, Executive Director of Posey County Family Matters, invited the board to join in celebrating “National Lights on Afterschool” Tuesday, October 23, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Guests will meet with students and families at West Elementary School to hear about the impact and benefits of the program. Russell confirmed over 80 students participate in the program.
•Kopatich expressed thanks to Countrymark for being a good neighbor and installing free of charge a device on the muffler of any bus, year 2008 and older. The device improves the air quality for passengers on the buses.
•The board accepted the resignation from Kristin Cooper as assistant girls’ swim coach and Jessica Reinitz as assistant boys’ swim coach—both half stipend—effective immediately.
•The board confirmed the employment of Nathan Ellis, who has served as assistant football coach, as assistant boys’ basketball coach at the high school and Luke Pyle, a current student teacher, as assistant girls’ basketball coach at the junior high school.
•The board authorized leasing a section of Hedges Central School in accord with the leasing amendment for Wolfgang Orchestra and Chorus from November 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013. Now both the orchestra and choir will have a practice room.
•The board adopted the tax neutrality resolution as recommended. Supt. Kopatich noted the district was working with the Capital Projects Fund to make sure there is no increase in the tax rate.
•The board confirmed permission was granted to Angelus to perform Sunday, October 7, at the YMCA Half Marathon in Evansville.
The Mount Vernon School Board will meet again Monday, November 5, 2012, 5:45 p.m., in the junior high media center.
By Pam Robinson
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