Following the conclusion of the 2012-2013 school year, the Decatur County Community Schools (DCCS) Board will conduct a survey of the corporation’s students, staff and parents to consider revision to the system’s school-year calendar.
This, according to DCCS Superintendent Johnny Budd following the regular monthly meeting of the Board Wednesday night.
In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Budd told the Daily News that, for his part, he prefers for DCCS to adopt a balanced schedule that’s similar — if not identical — to the calendar used by both Greensburg Community Schools (GCS) and the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC).
Budd’s reasoning, though two-fold, stems mostly from a practical need for DCCS to be more in sync with BCSC in order to provide the best possible education for DCCS students.
“We partner with BCSC in a couple ways,” Budd explained. “First, many of our students attend the C4 Vocational School in Columbus. There are days when we have school, but BCSC doesn’t, and vice versa. Our kids miss those classes. With vocational training, which is extremely hands-on, it’s very difficult to make up this missed instruction time.”
DCCS is also part of a special-education co-op with BCSC wherein DCCS shares BCSC special-education personnel such as counselors, therapists, psychologists and other specialists.
“A co-op arrangement like the one we share with BCSC is common across the state,” Budd said, “because it’s just too expensive to have all that specialized personnel hired for every school in the state. Being on a calendar more in tune with BCSC’s would help the co-op run more smoothly and efficiently.”
Of the need for DCCS to be more in tune with the GCS schedule, Budd said, “With Greensburg’s proximity, it just makes sense for us to be on the same schedule. As it is, many parents and students are confused about the differences in scheduling between the two corporations.”
Budd also addressed the recent release of state grades received by the corporation’s schools. 2012 marks the first year the grades were assigned. While DCCS’s elementary and high schools received high grades, according to Budd, the district’s junior high schools scored a less-than-satisfactory “C” grade.
“We’re not certain yet how we’ll deal with the issue,” Budd said, “but junior high performance in our district is a problem.”
When asked exactly how DCCS might specifically address the issue, Budd refused comment, saying that the district is still studying the data.
“You can rest assured, though,” he added, “that we’ll definitely be taking action on this problem in the very near future.”
Also at Wednesday night’s board meeting, the board accepted multiple donations to South Decatur Elementary School’s (SDES) “Milk & Attendance Fund.”
These donations, according to Budd, come in the wake of an Oct. 2 Letter to the Editor published in the Daily News from an SDES parent.
In that letter, the parent alleged that, during the school’s daily “milk breaks,” students on free and reduced lunches weren’t receiving any milk. The writer went on to speculate “whether local businesses and community members might be interested in supporting the SDES milk program.”
Budd declined to address the letter in detail, but did characterize it as “not totally accurate.”
“By 2 p.m.,” he explained, “kids might be getting a little hungry, especially if they have the early lunch period.
So at SDES, the teachers give students a ‘milk’ break. Problem is, we get no Federal or state funding for milk breaks, but have always managed to get it pay for it with PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) funds.”
He continued, “There was a time, many, many years ago, when the government did fund milk breaks. When school breakfast came along, though, they stopped providing money for milk break, as that money then went to breakfast. Most schools don’t even have milk breaks anymore, but SDES is one of the few. So whether a student is on free or reduced lunch has no bearing on the milk break.”
Still, Budd was pleased that, upon reading the Letter to the Editor, two local businesses, a local couple and a local woman made donations to the SDES milk fund.
“We greatly appreciate the concern for our kids people showed in making these donations,” Budd said.
“Plus, these contributions free up PTO funds that we can use for other purposes. These donations demonstrate the character of this community and the willingness to help each other.”
According to Budd, the donations to the SDES milk break fund came from Kingston Presbyterian Church, the Westport IOOF Lodge 681, William and Joann Bates, and Rheadawn Metz.
The next regular meeting of the Decatur County Community Schools Board will be at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 12, at the Central Office.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.