School Board looks to take advantage of stimulus funds

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The Switzerland County School Board is considering options on taking advantage of the new stimulus package being offered by President Barack Obama.

At Monday’s meeting, Jerry Firestone of the firm RQAW gave a presentation on possible projects that the school could have ready should the new stimulus package be approved.

“County officials believe that if there are projects that are ‘shovel ready’, we may have the opportunity to receive Obama stimulus money,” Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Jones said. “So the school – as well as the county – are looking at ways to take advantage of the program if it is approved.”

Dr. Jones stressed that the building projects that are being proposed would not be funded by Switzerland County funds, but rather would be projects that would be funded by federal sources.

The proposed project would involve constructing a wing on the west side of Switzerland County High School that would be used by seventh and eighth graders.

If the project continues, the current middle school would be the new Jefferson-Craig Elementary School; and sixth graders would be returned to the elementary schools.

“Because of our declining enrollment, we could house Jefferson-Craig students in the middle school,” Dr. Jones said.

Still, the superintendent stressed that everything is in the preliminary stages; and that no final decisions have been made.

“We’re not saying that this is going to happen,” Dr. Jones said. “We’re saying that if we can draw some of that stimulus money, we want to have a project ready.”

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The school board on Monday also hired Cindy Haskell as the corporation’s new deputy treasurer.

“We are very happy that Cindy will be serving as the deputy treasurer,” Dr. Jones said. “She has served in that job before, as she was the deputy treasurer for seven years before leaving when she opened her own business.”

Cindy Haskell currently runs the Student Management System for the school corporation; which every teacher in every building feeds information into. The system generates various reports for the local corporation; and those reports are also provided to the state.

Cindy Haskell monitors all of the information to make sure that everything is accurate; including grades and scheduling.

While serving in that post, she also has gone back into the treasurer’s office to assist treasurer Wilma Swango following Ann Geyman’s departure; and also while former deputy treasurer Melissa May was out on maternity leave.

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The school board also unanimously approved the board’s attendance at a national school board conference that will be held in San Diego in April.

The board was unanimous in approving the trip; with board members Wayne Daugherty, Jim Phipps, Bill Roberts, Andy Truitt, and Vern Waltz will attend. Board members Virgil McKay and Tonya Moore chose not to attend the conference.

The school board also terminated the employment of Systems Specialist Dana Kidwell at Monday night’s meeting.