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'Boot camp' turns Cannelton students on to technology

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Cannelton School Board reorganizes, welcomes new member

CANNELTON - One student decided she wants to attend Vincennes University and two others "said they definitely want to go into engineering" after attending a technology-and-robotics "boot camp" at the southwestern-Indiana school, Principal Ginger Conrad said July 16.

Five participated in the week-long camp, sponsored by the Southwest Indiana Network for Education, she explained during a regular school-board meeting.

"We learned to work a robot, worked on car engineering and learned about magnetics," said Shy May, one of the attendees.

Conrad said participant Tr Corley and the mother of another, Charlie Northener, attended a parent-teacher organization the previous night to express their appreciation for the opportunity because they couldn't attend the board meeting.

The experience "helped them see the world out there," Conrad said. "It's exciting for me."

Students had to show interest in math and robotics to qualify for the camp, she said. In addition to attending classes every day, they visited the plant of a Toyota-affiliated company.

Other participants were Brittany Wilson and T.J. James.

Conrad will relinquish her high-school-principal duties to Schools Superintendent Al Chapman to focus on leading the elementary grades when the new year begins.

In other business, Bill Garrett, entering his second term as a board member, was named its president in a reorganization meeting that preceded the regular meeting.

Barbara Beard was named vice president, Christal Moskos relinquished the president's role to become secretary and Jerry Harris was named the board treasurer.

The board welcomed Cory Faulkenberg to the board. He replaced Ed Bozarth, who didn't seek re-election.

Board members opted to schedule their regular meetings for 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, to keep their salaries at $2,000 - the maximum allowed by law - and to continue receiving no stipend for extra meetings.

The board members will also continue to serve as the corporation's board of finance. Melissa Embry, Kim Biever and John Hargis will continue to serve as corporation treasurer, assistant treasurer and attorney, respectively.

Hargis will be employed and paid on an as-needed basis.

During the regular meeting, Chapman reported the state had provided $127,353, but local-tax revenue hadn't yet been received. "The county auditor said notices have gone out and (initial) payments are due Aug. 22," he said, "so we're still operating without some of our funds."

He and Conrad said Title 1 grant funding is up this year, to $33,000 from last year's $31,000. The money goes toward preschool and kindergarten expenses and a summer program.

"We don't get state funding for kids under kindergarten," Chapman said.

Moskos said she appreciates the funding.

"I think it's so important for our at-risk children," she said, noting it helps improve standardized-test scores.

In asking the board to approve book-rental fees, Chapman said he tries to hold the costs down, but they're climbing due to rising fuel costs.