Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

July 19, 2013

State groups force criteria on BCSC

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — The Batesville Community School Corp. could see an influx of students based on recent actions by the state Legislature and Indiana High School Athletic Association, trustees learned July 15.

Students wanting to transfer to BCSC from other districts can no longer be cherry-picked, superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts announced. In the past, administrators first looked at whether there was room for a student in a certain grade or course, then studied the student’s academic, behavior and attendance records before making a decision. The Legislature told the Indiana Department of Education that school systems are not allowed to set their own criteria.

He explained, “If transfers are allowed by the school district, the only way not to accept a transfer student is to max out your capacity” set by grade or class subject. If there are more applicants than spots, “then we have a lottery.”

Roberts added, “There are some behavior components where we’re allowed to not have the student enrolled here.” Officials can look at a student’s record during the past 12 months. He or she can be rejected if suspended or expelled for 10 or more school days; in possession of a firearm or deadly device; caused physical injury to a student, staff or visitor; or violated a school’s drug and alcohol rules.

Trustees will study suggested language by consultant NEOLA and decided to accept transfer requests until Aug. 9.

Trustee Dr. Steve Stein asked, “What about siblings” of transfer students already accepted? Roberts said transfer applicants are automatically approved if they used to attend school here, if they are siblings of students already attending BCSC or if their parents work for the corporation.

Chris Lowery, who was sworn in for his third trustee term and re-elected as board president, was offended by the new rule. “It takes the control out of the hands of the people who have been managing the corporation really well.”

The policy review was considered a first reading so it has not been finalized.

The IHSAA Board of Directors unanimously approved allowing home-schooled students to compete on athletic teams at local public schools serving their residences, effective with the 2013-14 school year, as long as certain criteria are met, according to an April 29 news release.

The association’s criteria: the student, in conjunction with the school, provide proof to IHSAA that the spirit of the eligibility rules will not be compromised, including passing a physical exam and participating in the required number of practices in a given sport; the student must have been home-schooled for the previous three consecutive years; the student completes all statewide examinations as authorized by IDOE; the student’s family must submit grade information to the school to affirm the student is passing all courses; and the student must be enrolled in the school for which he or she is participating for a minimum of one class daily.

Batesville High School principal Andy Allen said he is “beginning to get bombarded with questions” from home-schooling families. His proposed policy adds more requirements. Each potential athlete must be enrolled in one core subject class, be enrolled for the full academic year, pay the technology fee and complete IHSAA and BHS paperwork.

Allen said he wants to safeguard current athletes. “I don’t think we want somebody to show up at the beginning of the second semester to play baseball.” A few have requested to take Ivy Tech Community College dual credit classes, so they may not physically be at BHS during the school day.

Lowery maintained, “If we can make the program accessible to the children of taxpaying parents and grandparents, I think we should do that.”

Former trustee Mike Bettice suggested adding a provision stating that if a home-schooled athlete plays on a team, but then quits taking classes midyear, the student won’t be allowed to play sports in succeeding years and officials agreed. Trustees approved the policy.

BCSC leaders are spending July living the corporation’s “Believe in Better” saying. Roberts and principals attended an administrative retreat in Indianapolis July 11-12. He observed, “We spent a lot of time Thursday with RISE,” the fresh teacher evaluation process mandated by IDOE. “What are opportunities for improvement … in managing that huge process? That was such a new thing for administrators and teachers.” They also had “some great discussions” about BCSC’s 2020 vision. “We have maneuvered through that so quickly we started to dream again … to take us forward to another level” of academic success.

Some BCSC leaders also will contemplate technology when they attend a conference at North Carolina’s Mooresville Graded School District July 22-25 to study learning gains there since 4,400 fourth- through 12th-graders in five schools were issued laptops three years ago.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

More news • During the year that started July 1, the state is paying BCSC $8,553 more each month due to a funding formula change. That equates to $102,636 annually, up 0.8 percent. • When Roberts researched the 2012-13 Action for Healthy Kids Healthy Hoosier School Awards, he learned BCSC has three of the nine gold level schools in Indiana, "another thing for us to be proud of … Not all of them apply, but they all can." • To secure land for possible future school expansions, trustees decided to pay for appraisals of a house for sale on West Pearl Street near the Batesville intermediate and middle schools by Hardebeck Valuation Services and Hendy Real Estate Services. The superintendent reminded, "If we decide to purchase, we can only pay up to the average of the two" estimated values. Last month trustees decided to remove two portable classrooms that have been located on the northeast side of BHS. Tim Hunter, director of buildings and grounds, asked city officials if they had a need for them on public ground. Batesville leaders are exploring costs to relocate them. • The district received three pairs of fuel bids from two companies. Bedel's Marathon: unleaded, $4.159 per gallon; and diesel, $4.359 per gallon, firm through Aug. 31, 2014; Bedel's, unleaded, $3.959; and diesel, $3.899, 20 cents over cost, which will rise or fall based on actual costs; Premier Energy, Columbus, unleaded, $3.77; and diesel, $3.962, firm through Aug. 31, 2014 (will deliver diesel here and fill the buses and provide a small tank of gasoline). Transportation and safety director Ed Krause and BCSC attorney Doug Wilson will review the bids. • While BCSC has moved away from offering soft drinks, Pepsi has been the vendor stocking vending machines and supplying concession stands. During a recent bid request, "Pepsi was simply not very responsive; Coke was." Roberts felt Coke offered a better partnership and trustees agreed so they will switch companies. • Batesville Intermediate School teacher Heather Haunert got a nice surprise recently. The superintendent recommended that she become the Batesville Primary School principal and trustees approved the idea. "She was moving to a kindergarten teacher position, but we are placing her as the captain of the ship." Other personnel action also was OK'd. Certified - new: Amanda Meyer, BIS fifth-grade teacher. Classified - new: Kristen Selmeyer, BIS fifth-grade instructional aide; Lori Giesting, BHS special education aide; Paige Chase, BCSC information technology help desk technician; Extracurricular - resignation: Alex Henkle, BHS freshman volleyball coach; new: Daniel Geisen, BHS freshman volleyball coach; changes: Steve Ollier, BHS baseball reserve coach (from baseball freshman coach); Rob Schebler, BHS baseball reserve and freshman assistant (from baseball reserve assistant). Transportation - new: Kim Powell, BCSC interschool mail carrier.