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Greater Clark County Schools Superintendent Mark Laughner addresses the crowd's questions during a community forum at Charlestown High School. Laughner presented the proposed strategic plan at various forums to get feedback prior to finalizing the plan.

JEFFERSONVILLE – The summers will fly by a little faster next year for Greater Clark County Schools’ students, as the district approved a balanced calendar for the 2020-21 school year.

In a 7-0 vote Tuesday night, the board approved to move to a balanced calendar, which will have school starting July 29 and ending May 27. Also included are two-week breaks in fall, winter and spring – with the first week of spring break being snow make-up days.

GCCS Public Information Officer Erin Bojorquez said the move will save money on transportation by better aligning the district’s schedule to the calendar used at neighboring New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. She said when the districts are on two different calendars, GCCS still has to transport students to and from Prosser at a cost of approximately $600 a day.

A new addition to the calendar includes three eLearning Days, two of which will be used for staff professional development. More eLearning Days may be used instead of having snow days, so that those days will not need to be made up during spring break, Bojorquez said.

According to a flyer from GCCS, during eLearning Days teachers will be available to answer questions and provide support before noon. They will be able to answer emails until 2:30 p.m. Assignments are due three school days upon returning to school from an eLearning Day. If a student doesn’t complete the work, that student will be counted as absent during that eLearning Day. Students in grades K-2 will be given more information from their teacher.

STRATEGIC PLAN

After a week of gathering public input during community meetings, Superintendent Mark Laughner presented the board with his updated 5-year strategic plan, which included a number of changes:

• Delay the decision to have classified specialists, instead of certified teachers, teach related arts classes, such as art, P.E. and music, in the elementary schools until “further exploration can be completed to determine the best option” for students

• Keep the River Valley Middle School open until major repairs are needed then re-evaluate it along with the state of the Jeffersonville High School pool

“We want to delay [the changes for related arts teachers] for at least a month, maybe two months… and we’ll make a decision on that at a later day,” Laughner told the board. “My promise … is that we will be very open and transparent with that [decision].”

New capital projects added to the list include:

• $450,000: New Washington Middle/High School bleachers, radios, sound system, gym floor repair (year 1)

• $1,000,000: River Valley gym HVAC (year 2)

• $1,000,000: Charlestown Middle School HVAC (year 3)

• $5,175,000: Jeffersonville High School locker room/weight room/pool (year 3)

• $5,000,000: Parkwood cafeteria, kitchen, gym (year 4)

The board voted 7-0 in favor of the broad scope of the 5-year strategic plan as the audience filled to standing room only applauded with approval.

As for year 1, the board voted 7-0 in favor to start pursuing a more than $15 million bond for the projects. The public hearing for the bond is scheduled for Nov. 19. Among the updates that will be included are:

• $2,600,000: Transportation facility renovation

• $2,400,000: Jeffersonville High School bleachers, press box

• $2,100,000: Charlestown Middle School swimming pool

• $1,000,000: Charlestown High School football turf

• $1,000,000: Jeffersonville High School football turf

“We tried to really listen to what our community had to say and what were their priorities. We feel good about this plan,” Laughner said. “It will make a significant impact to our schools.”

Also at the meeting:

• The board approved graduation dates for the three high schools. New Washington High School will be on June 12. Jeffersonville and Charlestown high schools will be on June 13.

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