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December 4, 2012

Greater Clark balances the calendar

2013-2014 will be first year for full balanced calendar for district

JEFFERSONVILLE — Greater Clark County Schools adopted a balanced calendar for the 2013-2014 school year at their meeting on Tuesday night.

Balanced calendar systems, which are year-round school calendars, have been adopted in other districts  in Clark and Floyd counties.

Andrew Melin, superintendent, said there are a few changes to the calendar as presented to the board, specifically with half-days built in for teachers at the end of each nine-week grading period to allow them to file grades.

“After considerable discussion with our teachers association, it was decided that those days were not necessary,” Melin said. “So those days have been removed and has changed the dates a little bit.”

He also said after approval, the board will have to amend the calendar to eliminate a built-in Election Day because there are no elections in 2013.

The board passed the measure unanimously.

The board also approved a feasibility study for a corporation clinic. The study, presumably performed by R. E. Sutton and Associates, would cost $3,500.

Melin said he has worked with Sutton and implemented such clinics in other districts he had worked in, saving money for the corporation and for employees.

He said employees can use the clinic for simple problems, like sinus infections, and not have to worry about paying for prescriptions, lab work or a copay.

But the idea of the study got some opposition from the board.

Ernie Gilbert, board member, said he isn’t sure how employees would feel about an on-site clinic.

“It’s a real big thing, many people think of doctors as part of their family,” Gilbert said. “So if we set up a clinic or something like that, there are going to be people upset about that.”

Melin said employees will always have the option of seeing their family doctors, but the clinic will allow some extra convenience by allowing employees to visit it during the work day.

Gilbert said he thinks the district needs to explore the option, but wants to get others in the district involved as well.

“I don’t like spending $3,500, but if the guy’s got valuable abilities and skills, sometimes you have to go outside and get them,” Gilbert said. “We want to have input by the people who are involved in it as well which would be Mr. [Culpepper “Pepper”] Cooper [the district’s agent of record] and of course the insurance committee...”

Becka Christensen, board member, told Melin before the vote that she would not support the measure because she didn’t want to break the partnerships the Greater Clark Education Foundation has with other local hospitals.

“Dr. [Stephen] Daeschner’s [former superintendent] still in my head saying we’re not in the food service business, we’re not in the transportation business, and I’m not really sure we need to be in the health clinic business,” Christensen said. “So that’s the reason I’m going to not support it tonight.”

Melin said whoever the district might hire would work on a contract basis and recruit local health care professionals rather than bring in other employees from elsewhere.

Mark Pavey, board member, also expressed concern about the level of depth the board could get for a study at that price.

“I’m thinking $3,500, I’m not sure how comprehensive you get for $3,500, that’s my only concern is that are we going to have enough information to make a good decision?” Pavey said.

Melin said he thought the level of depth would be enough to help the district make a decision on whether to move on to the next step in the process, and that he didn’t expect consulting fees to continue to arise as the process progressed.

The measure passed 5-2, with Christensen and Nancy Kraft, board member, opposing.

The board also approved the taxable general obligation pension refunding bonds.

Thomas Dykiel, chief financial officer, said during a public hearing before the meeting that putting out bids for refunding the pension bonds would allow the district to lower the interest rate on the bonds as well as the principal payment, bringing in nearly $1 million in savings in a year without raising taxes. The board passed the measure unanimously.

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