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April 1, 2014

New Albany schools get a visit from the state superintendent

Glenda Ritz touts reading, urges community to support referendum

NEW ALBANY — Stepping back into the role she held as a librarian, Glenda Ritz read three books to Steven Tinius’ second-grade class at Slate Run Elementary School on Tuesday.

Ritz, state superintendent for public instruction, also took a trip through the Prosser Career Education Center. The two visits had a strategic purpose.

Prosser and Slate Run could benefit from a referendum the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. hopes to bring to a ballot next year.

“I think they do have a need for facility improvements,” said Ritz, who also paid a visit to Georgetown Elementary School.

With budget cuts as the norm for school districts, she said getting the community to voluntarily provide more funding could be a way for districts across the state to fill in gaps for school districts.

The $63 million proposal would expand Prosser and update Slate Run and Green Valley Elementary School. As the state continues cutbacks on school finances, she said she hopes the community buys into the corporation’s idea of a referendum.

“Budgets are always going to be a concern, I feel, at the state level,” Ritz said. “I hope that communities understand the importance of referendums and the need for them.”

She said since the schools that are looking at updating likely require a lot of resources for maintenance and upkeep, she said she thinks the referendum would be a good investment.

“There’s nothing more important than supporting the education that your community offers because it comes right back to the community in terms of economy and jobs,” Ritz said.

Ritz also visited the Boys and Girls Club on Ekin Avenue. She said since the club is a partner of Hoosier Family of Readers — which has 263 partners statewide — she wanted to visit and see that they’re prioritizing reading when children go to the facility, even during summer break.

“We’re excited to partner with them and I’m happy to come down and personally thank them for being involved,” Ritz said.

She also attended a political rally at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library for several local Democratic candidates.

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Theater students rehearse a scene from "Seussical the Musical," directed by Silver Creek Theater Director, Alonzo Richmond, and New Albany Theater Director Amy Harpenau at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater Thursday evening. The musical includes around 70 students from 12 local schools that will be performing Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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