School officials continue progress toward bonds

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Cannelton board adopts appropriation resolution

CANNELTON - Cannelton's school board took the next steps at a regular meeting Nov. 13 toward issuing bonds to cover a $544,375 debt the corporation owes to Fifth Third Bank.

The board adopted a preliminary resolution outlining the financial move Oct. 17, school-corporation attorney John Hargis reminded the board. Notices announcing the public was invited to offer comments about it at the Nov. 13 meeting were published Oct. 25 and Nov. 1, he added.

After board President Christal Moskos determined no one was present to comment on the plan, the board adopted an appropriation resolution. Its next step was approval by the state's school-property-tax control board, Hargis said.

As The News reported Oct. 22, Schools Superintendent Al Chapman explained the debt originated in borrowing intended to pay off a loan to the Indiana Bond Bank. He had suggested in late 2004 the school corporation borrow from the local bank where it conducts its daily business, versus the New York bank backing the state's bond bank.

The original debt was built up over a number of years, he pointed out, and approximately a half-million dollars in personnel cuts had been made in efforts to get finances under control.

The bonds could add up to 31 cents to property taxpayers' bills per $100 in assessed valuation, Chapman said last month, although he was considering other cutbacks that could reduce that increase.

In other business, the board approved a recommendation from Chapman that students attending school in Cannelton, but who reside outside the city, be required to pay $350 upon enrollment.

They also approved the employment of Natalie Johnson to replace Dan Freed, who resigned. A paraprofessional who's been working in the school corporation for some time, Chapman said, Johnson is working with special-needs students.

Principal Ginger Conrad expressed appreciation to American Legion Post 142 for supporting the Myers Grade School Media Club, the school corporation's athletic department and an annual movie day.

"They have risen to the occasion to assist us in many ways this year," she said in a written report to the board. "We appreciate their school involvement." She also appreciated the efforts of students and staff and community members for their contributions toward an annual Veterans Day program, she added.

Holocaust survivor Richard Staveskey presented to middle- and high-school students photos and recollections of his time in a concentration camp during World War II, Conrad reported. To prepare for his visit, students read about the war, studied journals and other literary works and viewed films from the period.

During his 90-minute presentation to the ninth- through 12th-graders, Conrad said, "not a sound was heard throughout the gym."

She also reported a revised handbook for elementary students will be available for review and parents' input at the next parent-teacher organization meeting. "Our goal is for adoption by the second semester of this school year," she said, "and the handbook will be effective in the fall of 2008."