VALPARAISO | The auditorium at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School was filled to capacity Tuesday night with parents and others who came to honor student science bowl winners and listen to student singers.
After a spirited rendition of the national anthem and other songs by the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School Choir, students who participated in the 2013 elementary science bowl competition were called to the front of the room to receive a certificate from their respective principals.
“Four elementary schools from Valparaiso placed in the top 10 in the state in the classes they represent,” Superintendent Mike Berta said. “This is a big deal.”
Northview Elementary was state champion in the red class, followed by Hayes Leonard in third and Central in sixth. Flint Lake placed third in the orange class.
Moving on to other business, the board heard a financial report by Sharon Qualkenbush, chief financial officer for Valparaiso schools, who provided highlights of the schools' January 2013 budget.
Qualkenbush said the general fund ended the month with a cash balance of $1.2 million. Revenue for the month was $3 million, with expenses totaling $2.5 million, she said.
Board member Jim Sarkisian asked if the schools could look into lowering the rate they pay for gas, especially in light of the recent spike in gas prices.
The board agreed to examine potential consortiums to join that would help lower the prices.
“If there are steps the schools can take, it certainly makes sense,” board President Mark Maassel said.
The board also approved a recommendation by Berta for Valparaiso schools to become certified in a student and exchange visitor program established by the Department of Homeland Security.
The certification costs $2,500 and would allow students from foreign countries who are living in Valparaiso but are not participating in foreign exchange programs to attend Valparaiso schools, Berta said.
Berta said they receive about six requests a year for these types of students to attend Valparaiso High School.
The board also approved a recommendation to award a bid for a lighting retrofit project at elementary schools and the high school.
The project involves updating about 4,000 light fixtures for an annual energy savings of between $40,000 and $45,000. The work is scheduled to begin in March and run through August and will take place during non-school hours.
The board also will advertise for bids for lighting and security projects at the career center and administration building.