The Switzerland County School Board on Monday night approved a plan that will allow high school students here the chance to take a national exam at a discounted price.

High School Principal Gregg Goewert said that the ACT organization, which administers examinations for students wanting to further their education after high school – similar to the SAT test – is offering a new program for this year.

Looking to answer the question of whether or not the ACT is accomplishing what it hopes to with its testing, the organization is offering schools the chance to administer the ACT test to students.

Principal Goewert said that the program will allow 80 Switzerland County High School students, in grades 10-12, to take the ACT at a cost to the parents of just $10. The school corporation will pay $9.95 for the remainder of the exam cost.

“Our kids tend to score better on the ACT than the SAT,” Goewert said. “I think it’s an opportunity for our kids. Is the board interested?”

Goewert said that the deadline to enroll the school in the program is December 31st; so he was looking for a commitment from the corporation of picking up a portion of the cost so that he could be registered by the deadline.

The cost to the school corporation is $796, and if the school can’t get 80 students to sign up to take the exam, then the school will not be participating in the program.

Superintendent Mike Jones said that the money would need to come from the school’s general fund, but added, “It’s a pretty small cost for the opportunity.”

Corporation Treasurer Wilma Swango said that she felt that the corporation could pay for the program once, but added that this was not an ongoing program, so she felt comfortable in having the funds, which will be paid in January.

Board member Katie Collier moved to approve the plan, seconded by Nancy Peters, and it was approved unanimously.

Goewert also spoke with the school board about the idea of converting the current blue storage barn on the west end of the football field to a lockerroom. The school board is currently constructing a building near that site that will have a ticket area, a concession stand, and public restrooms.

The board had considered building a new facility that would have housed all of those things plus lockerrooms, but opted against it once a cost was established because of the need to build additional classrooms onto Jefferson-Craig Elementary.

The building had been estimated at $1.3 million.

At Monday’s meeting, Goewert said that he had gotten a quote from a local contractor on converting the current storage building, and presented the school board with that quote along with a potential floor plan for the conversion.

He said that the current lockerroom area, which is a group of old portable classrooms near the football field, is lacking in security; and also has issues with ground hogs, raccoons, and mice. He noted that because of the lack of security, equipment is stored at the middle school through the winter, which also provides a temperature controlled environment.

Goewert noted that the original building was estimated to cost $1.3 million; and the new building is costing $273,000. The quote that he had received for the renovation was approximately $175,000 – so with the new building and the renovation, the school board could solve all of the needs and still be significantly below the original cost estimate.

He noted that he was not making a proposal to the board to approve the project, but was wanting to bring the idea forward for the board’s consideration, and the consideration of the facilities committee.

Collier said that with the Jeff-Craig project currently ongoing, she felt that the corporation and the board needed to focus on what’s already in place.

“I think need to focus on what we have and keeping it up to date,” Collier said. “We need new windows at the high school; and we need to make improvements at our cafeterias in our buildings.”

The board took no action on the suggestion, but will take it under advisement.

Board President Wayne Daugherty asked about the progress at Jeff-Craig, noting that the project got off to a late start, and wondered if that would impact the completion date in time for the beginning of the school year next fall.

Jones said that everything was still on track to meet the target date; but, as with all projects, weather was something that no one can control.


In public comments, residents Chris and Michelle Oatman presented the board with written comments concerning the board members having access to health insurance for $1 per year.

Kelly Lockwood told the board that she had concerns with the school corporation’s website, asking that information on upcoming meetings be more prominent and easier to find on the website; and also that school board minutes and other information be kept more current.

In personnel matters: the school board approved the hiring of Jessica Crepin as an instructional assistant teaching art at Jefferson-Craig. The board also approved the extension of a FMLA leave for an employee.

Russell Wiggins was approved as the freshman boys basketball coach; Gary Cook was approved as a volunteer coach for the boys sixth grade basketball coach; Pam Ely was approved as the volunteer sponsor of the Amazing Grace Club at the high school; and in baseball: Shawn Cook was approved as the varsity assistant coach, Ryan Peters was approved as the junior varsity coach, Ricky Roberts was approved as an assistant coach; and head coach Chad Combs was approved for the summer of 2016 program.

In new business: the school board approved a request from the high school archery program to request a grant of $1,914 from the School Endowment Corporation; approved a reduction in the fee schedule for electronic device repairs; approved extra curricular fundraisers; and officially accepted grants from the Community Foundation of Switzerland County.

The board also accepted a 2016 Secure School Safety Grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security; and approved an end of the year plan on the transfer of appropriations and payment of claims.

The school board also approved the advertisement seeking bus route bids; approved the school Medicaid claims program for Special Services students; and gave Jones permission to advertise for a facilitator for contracted services for the school’s educational foundation and also for the formation of a Switzerland County High School Alumni Association.

Jones said that the next meeting of the school board will be its yearly reorganizational meeting on January 11th; and the Endowment Corporation will meet on January 26th; and that he is planning community neighborhood meetings on March 16th in Cotton Township; April 20th in Craig Township; and May 18th in Pleasant Township.