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C’ville puts more than $150,000 toward raises

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Crawfordsville schools will save more than $150,000 toward raising teacher salaries following the changes to the state’s teacher retirement fund.

Earlier this year, the state paid more than $150 million into the fund from the $450 million budget surplus, in a one-time move designed to reduce the amount school districts contribute to the account. The change affects employees hired after 1996, representing most of Crawfordsville’s staff.

“The way they figured it out through the actuaries is the state made this injection and with the new contribution rate to the school, even though it’s lower ... that should be a permanent decrease,” superintendent Dr. Scott Bowling said during Thursday’s school board meeting at the administration building.

Countywide, the move frees up roughly $311,000 for pay raises. Teachers have been making the case for higher salaries as schools blame low pay for struggling to fill open positions.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has convened a panel of experts that will offer strategies for raising salaries before lawmakers return next year. A separate fund covers pensions for teachers hired before 1996, with a different contribution rate.

In other business, board trustees received updates on the ongoing renovation projects at the high school.

Construction managers will begin preparing bids for the academic wing project, which are expected to go out within the next month, assistant superintendent Dr. Rex Ryker said. The planning phase will begin for the next stage of renovations to the PE, band and art wings.

Crews continue working on the roof project and the aquatic center project is on or slightly ahead of schedule, Ryker said. The pool was expected to be closed through at least the end of October.

Elsewhere, crews will begin addressing HVAC needs at Willson Preschool.

In other business, the:

• A high school reunification drill is scheduled for Oct. 15. Students and staff will be moved to the middle school during the exercise. Children will be sent to the auxiliary gym and parents will meet in the large group instruction room and cafeteria.

• The time for the board’s annual meeting at the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County in November was moved to 7 p.m. The meeting follows the opening reception for the Crawfordsville student art show.

• The board approved the hiring of Savannah Dinius, Hose aide; Morgan Howard, Hose media specialist; Hannah Hearon, high school administrative secretary; Karla Joyce; high school administrative secretary and registrar; and Trudy Cunningham; media assistant.

• Board members approved the resignations of Lindsey Hamilton, Nicholson receptionist; Pat Moser, high school study hall aide; Faith Crum, middle school aide; and Andrea Thompson, Nicholson aide. 

• Position changes were approved for Stacy Adams, who becomes middle school life skills assistant, and Sarah Ewoldt, now a high school media assistant.

The board’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at the administration building, 1000 Fairview Ave.

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