By Lois Mittino Gray
A moment of silence in memory of Carl E. Culiver opened a very busy meeting of the Mount Vernon School Board on September 16. Culiver worked for 41 years for MSD of Mount Vernon as a teacher, high school principal and assistant superintendent. School Superintendent Tom Kopatich fondly referred to him as “my mentor when I first came here, who did wonderful things for our corporation and will be deeply missed.”
Kopatich told the Board that the official enrollment count day to determine state funding for the district was Friday, September 13. The count was 2,199 enrolled students on October 1 of last year and now it is 2,170. This is a decrease of 29 students which Kopatich did not feel was too bad as “we graduated 209 last year and only had 162 in kindergarten.” The district actually picked up several new kindergarten transfer students this year.
The state ADM count pays the district’s General Fund for each student in grades 1-12 and each kindergarten student counts as one half student. Assistant Superintendent Loren Evans explained that every kindergarten student does get some money into the General Fund, but “kindergarten is not 100 percent fully funded by the state.” If a home-schooled student attends a class or two at the school, the district gets funds based on the percent of the day in attendance.
A policy for home-schoolers who want to play sports was discussed as Kopatich reviewed the guidelines. All the requirements follow the IHSAA rulings, with two extra added in by the district. A student must have been home-schooled for three consecutive years before applying to be on a team, take at least one full credit class at the school, take all standardized tests that other students take, and be present in class on the day of play. “It was our choice to offer this or not as long as we include the IHSAA rulings,” the superintendent noted. “For example, Warrick County has declined to offer it.”
In other board action:
• ISTEP scores will come out within the week and then they are embargoed for review by Jody Pfister before public release. Kopatich felt the scores will be overall pleasing with one group of third grade student scores low in math. It will be determined if that group of students was one that had trouble with computers during the testing.
•The district received a $10,000 grant from Montsanto with the help of some local farmers. The farmers involved and local administrators will be presented with one of those ‘very large oversized checks’ at the October 11 Homecoming Game. It will be used to purchase IPADS for junior high STEM students.
• A district debit rewards card will be offered by the Evansville Teachers Credit Union. Its use will generate funds for the school district.
•Kopatich proudly announced that Dana Taylor, MVHS Vocal Music Director and Technical Theatre Instructor, will be presented the Distinguished Achievement Award for Education from the US Institute for Theatre Technology in March at Fort Worth, Texas. He will be the first high school teacher ever so honored.
•Donna Gregory was hired as a teacher assistant/computer lab aide at West Elementary school. Keely Hoehn was hired at West as an elementary teacher and as assistant coach for junior high volleyball and junior high girls’ basketball teams.
•Wage and benefit packages for food service, secretaries, teacher assistants, information systems, maintenance foreman, management and non-unit personnel were approved. Loren Evans said “it was good that we can give those raises and something positive as we get back in good financial standing. We appreciate their patience with us.” Board President Kathy Weinzapfel added, “On behalf of the Board, we know they all voluntarily took cuts in the past and we admire their loyalty through the years.” Kopatich said his salary must be discussed at a public meeting and that will be done later.
•Sixteen staff members were granted permission to travel to educational conferences.
•Leasing agreements were signed with Expressway Ministries, Faith Fellowship Church, Wolfgang Orchestra and Chorus and PAWS (Parents Advocating Wrestling) for one year to use sections of Hedges School beginning October 1.
•Evans announced dental insurance single plan monthly premiums will be lower with HRI Dental through December, 2016.
• he next meeting and budget hearing is slated for Monday, October 7 at 5:45 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Junior High School.
By Lois Mittino Gray
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