CCSC to seek bond for projects


Trustees for the Crawfordsville Community School Corp. took the first step in funding a proposed three-year capital projects plan.

On Thursday, school officials conducted the first of two required public hearings regarding the corporation’s intent to seek a general obligation bond in the amount of $2 million. The funds would be used to make various site improvements and to purchase buses and other equipment.

Dr. Brent Bokhart, assistant superintendent, shared that in the first year of the capital projects plan the corporation would install a charging station for two electric buses that will be purchased with a federal grant; improve drainage on the high school baseball field; install playground equipment at Willson Preschool Academy and Hose Elementary; and make parking lot and sidewalk improvements at Hoover Elementary.

In the second year of the plan, the corporation would focus on the high school field turf, which is going into its 12th year; repair cracking on the high school tennis courts; and focus on building maintenance at the middle school, including replacing carpet and improving security measures in the front office.

Lastly, the plan includes a bus replacement schedule. Unlike other districts that replace buses at 10 years, Crawfordsville has been using buses in the fleet up to 15 years.

Superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker said the corporation drafted the plan with the help of bond counsel Ice Miller and financial advisor Baker Tilly.

“We are in this situation because of our low operation funds,” he said. “Our operation funds are based on our assessed value, and we have one of the lowest assessed values per student in the state, which means for our $6-7 million operation fund that we need, our levy only brings in about $3.6 million. So, we have to move funds from the education fund to cover those needs, which then has meant a lot of these things like parking lots haven’t been done. This is a way to take care of our preferred maintenance and to not have to take more out of the education fund.”

The timeline for the proposed projects would extend through May 2027.

“The good part about this is that we are in a situation we can actually do these projects and continue to allow our tax rate to slowly come down,” Ryker said.

Repayment of the bond is estimated at just under four and half years and would include an estimated $286,703 in interest.

The next public hearing will take place July 11.

In other business, the board:

• Recognized Thomas Bowling and Brenden Warren for serving as Alexander, the new Athenian mascot, this past school year. Mascot identities remain secret until the end of their service. Those serving as Alexander will be given a chance to share notes about their experience and messages to future mascots in a special journal.

• Approved a policy prohibiting wireless devices. The measure comes in response to State Senate Bill 185 that requires school districts to adopt and implement a wireless communication device policy that governs student use. Students will not be allowed to use devices, such as cellular phones, tablets, computers, laptops, digital cameras, or gaming devices during instructional time unless permitted by the teacher for educational purposes; in case of an emergency or to manage the student’s health care; or as part of the student’s Individual Education Plan.

In addition to being disciplined, students who violate the policy may have the device confiscated. It will be returned to the parent.

• Approved a request from the Crawfordsville Dance Team to travel to a national competition  Feb. 13-17, 2025, in Orlando, Florida.

  Approved the addition of two high-ability preschool classes at Hose Elementary.

• Approved a partnership between Athens Virtual Academy of Indiana and North Montgomery School Corp. that outlines academic services and financial obligations for North students who enroll in the AVA. The North school board has approved the agreement.

  Approved the retention of Stuart Weliever as corporation attorney.

• Named the Journal Review, The Paper, WIMC 103.9, WCDQ 106.3 and WCVL 1550 as official media outlets for the corporation.

• Approved a $36,800 contract with Five Star Commercial Roofing for roof replacement at the administration building at 1000 Fairview Ave.

  Approved a $20,159 contract with NewJac Industrial Fire Protection for the replacement of the fire systems jockey pump at the high school.

• Learned roughly 25-30% of the debt turned over to the corporation’s collection partners has been collected.

• Learned all corporation schools received certification their Safe, Supportive and Collaborative Culture. Only 28 schools in Indiana have received the certification and CCSC holds five of the 28 certifications.

• Learned playground equipment at both Willson and Hose has been ordered. Willson will receive equipment for the toddler play area and Hose will receive equipment to accommodate the added preschool classes.

In personnel matters, the board:

• Approved the retirement of David Whitehead, CHS

• Accepted the resignations of Kaitlyn Ferguson, Nicholson third grade teacher; Shelby Paxton, Hose teacher; Zoe Baker, Hoover aide; Jeremiah Alston, Hoover aide; Angela Risner,  CMS assistant; and Debbie Clapp, Hoover Media Center assistant.

• Approved the employment of Aubrey Fields, Hose teacher; Jennifer Rader, Nicholson third grade teacher; Jessica Pursell, lead preschool instructor; Gabriela Dominguez, Willson childcare aide; Morgan Bowles, Willson developmental preschool aide; Mayli Melton, summer school aide; Eden Pyle, Nicholson teacher; and Paige Palmer, Nicholson media specialist

• Approved the decision to cancel the contract for an in-house alternative school teacher at the middle school. The alternative program at the middle school has disbanded and services moved to a similar program offered at the Youth Service Bureau.