VALPARAISO | The first half of Tuesday night's Valparaiso school board meeting celebrated students who have performed well in the arts and academics.
After a lively performance by the Cooks Corners Elementary School Choir, finalists from the Cooks Corners “Reflections Art Show” received recognition, as did some two dozen students who received perfect scores on the math, science or English language arts portions of last year’s ISTEP tests.
One student, Conrad Otterbacher of Hayes Leonard Elementary School, received a perfect score on the entire test, all three sections.
Thomas Jefferson Middle School teacher Jane Strayer was recognized for winning the 2012 IASP Academic Coach of the Year honor. Strayer has been employed by the middle school for 29 years and serves as the spell bowl and academic super bowl coach.
She then recognized her spelling bowl team who recently won the state competition for the sixth year in a row and nine of the last 11 years. She said her students had to work with some 1,750 words and practice every morning at 7 a.m. to prepare for the competition.
Patricia Cummings, art teacher at Northview and Central Elementary schools, was presented with the Indiana Outstanding Art Educator award, and the board discussed the collaboration between the town’s Redevelopment Commission and the schools.
The second half of the meeting discussed board business, including reports on October’s budgets.
Schools CFO Sharon Qualkenbush reported a $765,000 deficit for the general fund during the month, more than anticipated from July’s projection, she said.
Additionally, Qualkenbush said that the $1.7 million anticipated for the rainy day fund actually will be between $1.2 and $1.6 million by end of the year. She received board approval to appropriate $947,000 in reductions in the pension debt, capital projects fund, transportation operating, and bus replacement fund to the general fund. A public hearing on the matter was set for 5:30 pm. Dec. 13.
Attorney David Hollenbeck received board approval to seek bids to cover short-term debt while tax anticipation warrants are forthcoming, as well as approval to seek bids on the refinance of bonds from the 2002 expansion and renovation of the two middle schools.
Refinancing is expected to save the schools corporation a little over $2.5 million over the course of the life of the bond, he said.
Hollenbeck also received approval to work with Statewide Credit Association of Indianapolis to help collect on delinquent accounts. He said the number of delinquent accounts and the magnitude of delinquency has increased over the past four years.