Education stock

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. officially has a new administrator.

By a 4-2 vote, the board of school trustees approved the hiring of Bill Hamby as full-time director of technology resources. Hamby, who works for Trace3, has been working with the corporation as a contracted employee. But Superintendent Brad Snyder said he wants someone on staff to deal with the daily technology needs of the corporation, throughout its 16 buildings, and be part of the decision-making team. He will begin his new role July 1.

"It [school technology] is a big operation. I wanted the independence of having someone here instead of having them on a tether," Snyder said. "I think it will help with decision making."

Hamby will earn $115,000 a year, according to Snyder, plus benefits. Two board members, Rebecca Gardenour and Lee Ann Wiseheart questioned the hire and whether the corporation needed to add another administrator.

"I am concerned about adding another position," Gardenour said.

Wiseheart said why not see what the needs of the corporation are before adding another administrative position. She also wanted to know if the teachers association had been contacted about the new administrative position.

But board member Joe Brown said he liked the idea of having someone full-time on staff to deal with any issues. Elaine Murphy agreed.

"This is long overdue," she said.

Human Resources Director Jeanine Corson said technology is a "constantly changing environment" for a corporation the size of NA-FC.

"I think having someone as an employee is a very good idea," she said. "We need someone in the trenches with us."

Brown, Murphy, Jenny Higbie and Elizabeth Galligan voted in favor of adding Hamby as an administrator, while Gardenour and Wiseheart voted against.

MOUNT TABOR FIELDS

The board received an update on the proposed development of the Mount Tabor athletic complex, which will be home to both the New Albany High School baseball and softball teams.

Bids for the work will go out this summer but the fields likely won't be ready until the 2021 season, which means the girls will still play at Prosser next season.

The current baseball field will get a total upgrade including new seating, press box, concession area and dugouts. Artificial turf will cover both infields.

Bill Wiseheart, director of facilities, said 25 additional parking spaces will be added to the complex. A few board members questioned if that would be enough.

"This whole location is a safety concern," Lee Ann Wiseheart said.

She said the area has always been dangerous with cars parked along the side of the road and people crossing Mount Tabor. But Bill Wiseheart said cars will no longer be able to park on the side of the road once current upgrades to Mount Tabor are complete.

He also said it is a "delicate" balancing act adding more hard surface to the area, which would force the corporation by law to add a basin area on the property for storm water runoff. Both artificial turf infields are considered hard surfaces.

With Little League no longer playing at the complex, that will eliminate much of the parking crunch, he said. And fans will be able to use the Mount Tabor Elementary School parking lot.

"We are reducing the usage by two-thirds," Brown said. "There was always six teams going [with Little League] which means there were 12 teams trying to park. Now we will just have baseball and softball."

TIF DISCUSSION

Gardenour presented the board with some information on Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, funds. She said Floyd County has eight TIF funds, mainly in the city, and she would like to see the school corporation get more of those funds.

Recently the New Albany Redevelopment Commission approved funding the New Albany High School weight room at a price tag of $100,000. That money came from TIF funds.

However, she would like to see the redevelopment commission make other moves to provide schools with more TIF money, which she said could possibly be used for increases in teacher salaries.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

I am an assistant editor, cover Floyd County news and enjoy writing feature stories on interesting people in Southern Indiana.