SMCSC approves report card change, discusses removal of textbook fees


By Brady Extin | The Times-Post

PENDLETON — South Madison Community School Corp.’s Board of Trustees discussed updated textbook fees, approved report card changes and more at its monthly meeting on June 1.

A new law passed by the Indiana government has eliminated textbook fees for parents with kids in grades K-12, with the fees instead being distributed among taxpayers across the state.

Curricular materials such as books, computer software, and hardware have been removed from parent’s costs.

Unknown variables with the law that the corporation is still trying to figure out are things such as if lab fees and gym uniforms fit into the covered costs.

The state is estimating giving schools $151.88 per student in December of each year, and according to assistant superintendent Laura Miller, that amount is below what the corporation had been adopting annually per student.

Schools are still allowed to charge for lost or stolen textbooks and hardware materials, and are still allowed to collect outstanding fees from prior years.

The board also approved a change to report cards in grades 2-6. The change makes the report cards more in line with grades 7-12, with a standard letter grade in each subject four times a year.

The decision was made based on surveys with parents and feedback from parents and teachers.

Along with the overall grade, teachers will still provide comments on the report cards discussing the student’s ability within the given subject.

According to the board, the change will not only provide more clarity for parents, it will save time for both parents and teachers.

For second and third grades, the board also approved splitting the area of English into two separate grades – reading and language arts – to define those areas more for the younger ages.

Personnel approvals

The board also approved the following personnel recommendations:

Certified staff retirement of Special Education Teacher Kathy Rayburn (Pendleton Heights High School) – 23 Years of Service – and Business Teacher Tearle Dwiggins (PHHS) -31 Years of Service.

Certified staff resignation of 5th Grade Teacher Janessa Chesnic (East Elementary School), Special Education Teacher Shelby McCullum (PHHS), Special Education Teacher Laura Pool (EES), and 5th Grade Teacher Brittany Robertson (EES)

Certified staff recommendation of 1/2 Day Pre-School Teacher Jessica Tetrault (Pendleton Elementary), Special Education Teacher Lauren Simpson (Pendleton Heights Middle School), 3rd Grade Teacher Hannah Elgin (EES), 3rd Grade Teacher Leah Meersmen (EES), and 5th Grade Teacher Eric Pugh (EES)

Support staff resignation of Custodian Pam Williams (EES), Secretary Julia Avey (PHHS), Kids Connection Caregiver Jacob Smitherman (Pendleton Elementary School), Instructional Assistant Venessa Dwyer (PES), and Treasurer Jen Marcum (EES)

Support staff recommendation of 2nd Shift Custodian Brandon Raymer (EES), Summer Custodian David Young (PHMS), PE Instructional Assistant Caitlin Plummer (EES), and Special Education One – One Assistant Autum Poling (PHHS)

Summer school certified staff recommendation of Summer School Math Teacher Sara Ragan (PHMS), Summer School Math Teacher Anne Plovick (PHMS), and Summer School Speech Teacher Jacque Brown (PHHS)

ECA resignation of Student Council Sponsor Amy Adkins (PHMS), JV Basketball Coach Dylan Wells (PHHS), and Science Academic Team Coach Josh Elrod (PHHS)