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Board bids farewell to outgoing members

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Hoagland, Bryant leaving schools board of trustees; high-school students may get tablets

By Trista Lutgring

TELL CITY – Members of the Tell City-Troy Township School Board present at the Dec. 11 meeting had nothing but good things to say about departing members Jerry Hoagland and Larry Bryant.

Schools Superintendent Lynn Blinzinger read two resolutions of appreciation to be adopted by the board, recognizing the service and dedication of the two members.

Be it resolved because Jerry Hoagland and Larry Bryant have faithfully served this community in the position of member of the school board of trustees, this resolution of appreciation is therefore to be duly adopted and entered into the minutes, the resolution read. And be it additionally resolved that their willingness to give of their time, their steadfast leadership and creative approach to solving problems has proven to be a positive force as the school system has undergone continual change to the betterment of educational opportunities for our young people. And be it finally resolved that a public vote of thanks be given to Jerry Hoagland and Larry Bryant from the board of school trustees, the school administration and the community of the Tell City-Troy Township for their outstanding service, for their understanding of human potential, for their need to take a firm stand on decisive issues, for their capacity to provide consistent leadership and for their professional understanding of school finance and for their sincere guidance in the development of sound policy to guide educational practice for the students of this community.

“In the short time that I’ve been here, I’ve really enjoyed working with Jerry and Larry,” Blinzinger added. “The community has been fortunate to have both of you as board members.”

Hoagland had served on the school board for a total of 18 1/2 years spread over two separate terms and Bryant served 13 1/2 years. Blinzinger presented Hoagland a plaque honoring his time served; he also had a plaque to be presented to Bryant.

“I take a lot of pride in knowing sometimes I helped. I was proud to be a part of it, thank you,” Hoagland said as he thanked board members and the community.

“We’ve been through a lot of battles,” Administrative Assistant Bruce Chinn said to Hoagland in his comments to the board. “I consider you and Larry friends.”

In their comments, board members Dr. Gene Ress and Mack Cail also thanked Hoagland and Bryant for their services.

“Larry came on in the late 90s and Jerry came on in 2002; these men very strongly decided that wise decisions had to be made on these very difficult choices, including the hiring and replacing of staff, focus on education, becoming debt free, refurbishing the physical (building) to something of pride not shame, all new and current policies and a continuing program of improving technology,” Ress said. “These things don’t occur without hard work and understanding, being duty bound … Larry Bryant and Jerry Hoagland accomplished all of the above. The Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. is infinitely better because of their contributions.”

Cail added his agreement to the previous statements.

“I thank you and Larry for serving on the board. You’ve done what was best for the school corporation and that’s what is important,” he said.

In other business, High School Principal Brad Ramsey talked to board members about how he and other staff members are looking into possibly getting tablets, laptops or netbooks for students in the high school and the benefits the technology would bring to the school.

He explained that his group had visited different area schools using these types of technology to see what is working and what isn’t. They’ve been looking into different benefits, costs of the technology and more.

“Basically, we’re trying to even the playing field for all kids,” Ramsey said.

Students would use this technology for homework, research projects, to have access to a word processing program and more. He and his tech committee have attended different conferences on the subject hosted at Perry Central and Evansville North schools.

They’ve also been calling different area schools to see the pros and cons of the technology.

The school is already piloting the program now with the teachers in the school and all of them have given their support.

The bottom line of the committee, Ramsey told members, is to see if the technology can give Tell City students an edge.

“I would like to see us leveling the playing field. A lot of our kids do have these devices, but a lot don’t,” he pointed out.

If the schools decide to go ahead with the program, Ramsey said there are several things that would need to be addressed. The servers would have to be capable of handling all the new equipment. The teachers would also have to be capable of using and managing the use of technology in their classrooms.

Would all high-school students receive the new laptops or tablets, or would the program start a grade at a time? Will the school be able to do this financially? Policy and procedures for the use of the technology would have to be addressed as well as technical support.

The committee has also looked into using the devices as textbooks.

Ramsey pointed out the school corporation’s textbooks are paid for, so students would probably use both textbooks and the devices.

In the long run, however, he believed giving all students access to technology will save the corporation money in the long run.

He asked the board members to look over a packet of information he passed out and to contact him with any questions, ideas or more as he continued to explore the technology.