SYRACUSE — During an unusually brief meeting Tuesday evening, July 11, in Syracuse, the Wawasee school board awarded two construction bids.
R. Yoder Construction’s bid of $536,942 was accepted to transform the former Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Syracuse into spaces to be used for vocational purposes including welding and gone boarding classes. R. Yoder Construction is based in Nappanee.
Another bid was awarded to Niblock Excavating & Asphalt in the amount of $959,000. Niblock will renovate the tennis courts at Wawasee Middle School, Milford School and Wawasee High School. In addition, the track at WMS will be renovated and the long jump relocated, the fuel tank will be removed at WMS, additional visitor parking will be added in front of WMS and the bus garage parking lot off Kern Road in Syracuse will be paved.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, reported to the board for the first time in many years a middle school summer school class was offered at both Milford and WMS focusing on improving math and language arts skills. Changes in summer school reimbursement options from the state allowed for the class to be offered.
Wawasee again partnered with United Way of Kosciusko County and offered Kindergarten Countdown with a total of 33 students participating. All Write Consortium, which provides professional development in literacy and is made up of school districts in northern Indiana and southern Michigan (including Wawasee), is going through changes as director Mindy Hoffar will retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year. Ruth Ayres has accepted the director’s position and will split her time during the coming school year between Wawasee and the consortium.
In other business, textbook rental fees for 2017-18 will increase by about $16 to $18, depending on the grade, for grades kindergarten through fifth. The increases are due to insurance costs for 1:1 devices and the adoption of a new math curriculum. The fees are $139.70 for K through second grade, $137.80 for third grade, $139.20 for fourth grade and $133.50 for fifth grade.
Insurance for 1:1 devices is provided and parents will not have to get it on their own this year.
Also during the meeting, James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services, noted the school corporation took occupancy of the new Syracuse Elementary School July 5 and began moving in Friday, July 7. Contractors are still in the building in order for the punch list items to be completed. Mary Lou Dixon, board member, stressed it is important everything is done right because, as she noted, WMS was “not done right” and there have been problems since the building opened.
Other agenda items included:
• Kosciusko Endowment Youth Services members from the high school and middle schools were recognized including Alex Fiscus, Elizabeth Kleopfer, Nyla White, Jared Krugman and Jairus Boyer.
• The high school softball team coached by Mike Barger was recognized for winning the regional tourney for the first time ever in school history. Ten of the 22 roster players were seniors.
• State track meet competitors Luke Griner, Alexis Manges and Hannah Marie-Lamle were recognized.
• The mileage reimbursement rate for employees of 50 cents per mile was approved by the board, the same rate as last year.
• Due to federal requirements for the National School Lunch Program, lunch prices will be raised by 10 cents bringing the total to $1.80 for grades K through five and $2 for grades six to 12. The adult lunch price will remain the same at $3.50.
• Personnel changes included Ryan Connor, assistant principal at Milford School, transferring to physical education teacher at North Webster Elementary at least temporarily and Josh Ekovich resigning as health and physical education teacher at the high school effective June 30.