News and Tribune

August 13, 2013

New Albany-Floyd County approves bonds

$2 million will fund 10 projects at school corporation facilities

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

Funding for expanded technology, building projects and increased security for the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. was passed at Monday night’s board of trustees meeting, but not without some opposition.

Two projects — updating the entrance and adding parking to Georgetown Elementary School, and repurposing and renovating the former Galena Elementary School — were up in the air as part of the district’s $2 million general obligation bond before the meeting.

Brad Snyder, deputy superintendent, said Galena would be partially demolished, leaving the gymnasium and some classroom space to be used for Floyd Central High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, allocating about $270,000 of the bonds to start the project.

More money would go toward adding parking at Georgetown Elementary, as well as making the entrance safer for traffic entering and exiting the campus.

Though she didn’t question most of the 10 projects outlined for the bond, board member Rebecca Gardenour voiced her concerns for the Galena portion of the project, especially since the district closed it and four other schools in 2010 as part of a cost-saving initiative.

“I just have a problem with, three years ago in the expenditure reduction, it asked to close down Galena,” Gardenour said. “And yet now, we’re going to pour more money into Galena. We were telling the community, the parents, the teachers, who were going to save this school, and now we’re going to turn around and spend $1 million on it.”

She said though the $270,000 may get Galena’s project started, she though the district would end up spending more than that.

Snyder said the district has set aside about $125,000 in its capital projects fund for 2013 and would set aside more for several more years to partially use that money on that project.

He said that and the Georgetown parking piece would be long-term projects, but this money would help get each of them get started.

“We don’t have a big dollop of dollars to do the whole thing,” Snyder said. “We’re just going to have to do what we can when we can.”

Gardenour also said she didn’t know that building a new entrance to Georgetown’s campus was necessary, but a concerned parent rebutted her point during the general obligation bond public hearing during the meeting.

Wendy Moody, Georgetown, said as someone who volunteers at the school and has children in the building, she has serious concerns regarding parking and traffic around Georgetown Elementary.

“If there’s one thing that alarms me and frustrates me, it’s the parking situation,” Moody said. “And not necessarily parking as much as safety. When we are there for open house or special events and there are families with small children, and cars are trying to maneuver tight spaces, I feel like we have an accident just waiting to happen.”

Technology-related aspects of the funding include expanding wireless infrastructure and centralizing sever storage.

The board passed three resolutions for getting the bond process finalized at 6-1 each, Gardenour opposing each resolution.

 

In other business

• The board heard a report on the district’s World Languages program, which started in 2011 after the district reorganized art, music and physical education in elementary schools.

Rhonda Mull, director of middle schools, said the program was downsized from grades kindergarten through eight to kindergarten through four. About 70 students in eighth grade are piloting a program to get high school language credits this year.

The use of Rosetta Stone, a program that teaches languages on computers, will still be used in elementary schools.

• The board unanimously approved building a shelter and installing signage at the Floyd Central High School athletic campus. The school’s athletic and extra-curricular funds will pay for the project.

• The board recognized its five four-star schools: Georgetown Elementary, Greenville Elementary, Floyds Knobs Elementary, Highland Hills Middle and Floyd Central High schools were named four-star schools. Hibbard said the district has more four star schools than others in Southern Indiana.