LARWILL — The Whitko School Board heard a presentation on Little Free Libraries during its meeting on Monday, July 15.
Hilary Stouder, a librarian at both Pierceton and South Whitley Elementary Schools; and MaryHelen Gensch, Title I reading interventionist for Pierceton Elementary School, held the presentation.
On July 8, a Little Free Library was established on Pierceton Elementary School property. The Little Free Library is on School Street near the entrance of the car drop-off drive.
The metal stand promotes a “take a book, return a book” book exchange and is currently filled with reading material for people of all ages. The Little Free Library at the elementary school was made possible by Julie Underhill, a former third-grade teacher at PES.
“I would have to say right now, about half of the books in that stand are new ones that we didn’t put there. It’s very exciting to see people using it,” said Gensch.
“Public libraries have hours and they close,” said Stouder. “People who work during those same hours don’t have access to those libraries. And that’s one of our big goals with this is providing that access and equity for all people.”
Stouder and Gensch told the school board their next steps are establishing more Little Free Libraries throughout the Whitko community.
“We would love to have ones down in Larwill and Sidney since there are no libraries there,” said Gensch.
The prices for each library model start at $300.
“We are definitely looking for more funding sources,” said Stouder. “We want to make sure we at least get one in South Whitley and move on from there. We just wanted to share this with you and we’re very excited.”
During her report to the board, Pierceton Elementary School Principal Michele Smith said a summer challenge is live on the school’s Facebook page. Students are encouraged to complete a card filled with summer activities and send pictures of themselves doing the activities to Smith’s e-mail in order to be entered into a drawing on the first day of school.
The board also approved several items for the 2019-20 school year, including annual field trips, textbook fees and student and employee handbooks. Student breakfast and lunch prices, as well as staff meal prices, were also increased. The Paid Lunch Equity Tool is used yearly and filed with the state of Indiana and the Indiana Department of Education to ensure a balance between what full price lunch students pay versus what the government reimburses the school corporation for free and reduced meals.
For the elementary schools, student breakfasts will be $1.30 and lunches will be $2.25. At Whitko Jr./Sr. High School, student breakfasts will be $1.30 and lunches will be $2.40. Reduced prices will stay at 30 cents for breakfasts and 40 cents for lunches at all schools.
“This is the first time we’ve raised lunch prices for quite a number of years,” said Board Member Georgia Tenney.
“It looked like it had been a while, and this PLE [Paid Lunch Equity Tool] is the guide for that,” said WCS Superintendent Dr. Brandon Penrod. “It finally told us that we had to do that and raise prices to be in compliance.”
In other news:
- Feed the Children donated $606.51 of children’s books and school supplies to Whitko Community Schools.
- South Whitley Elementary School’s open house will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7.
- The board’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at the Whitko administration office.