BROWNSBURG — The school board here was busy Monday night following spring break. The resignation of board President David Ayers left a position to be filled.
Kim Armstrong was elected as the board president for the remainder of the year. Adam Brower, a local attorney was named to a school board position and also was named as their Indiana School Board Association (ISBA) Legislative and Policy Liaison.
Richard Sutton was named as the board’s secretary and Mike Runyon, who was acting school board president in lieu of Ayers’ absence, returned to his seat as vice president at-large.
The Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) also announced a canine addition to the staff. Zeus, a single purpose drug dog, was purchased using a grant from the Hendricks County Substance Abuse Task Force.
Zeus is an 18-month-old Maliherd and is not an apprehension dog. He is living with Kim Kiritschenko of the BCSC school police and explained the role the animal will have.
“We are training now about every night for two hours,” said Kiritschenko, who has had the dog for three weeks. “We do it at the Brownsburg training facility. They’ll have him find certain drugs. He already knows all the scents. He searches lockers phenomenally.”
Kiritschenko said that Zeus will be certified likely within the next week, meaning he will be able to go on calls. He has been training with an officer from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department.
Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp explained the desire for this type of animal on school grounds.
“We have a high school of 2,300 students, and one or two students might decide to do something silly,” he said. “If this can be a deterrent for them to bring drugs to school, our job is to keep students safe. I think if they know that we have a dog on the premises that’s capable of doing that, it’s going to be a big deterrent for our kids. That’s the main thing, we want to keep our students safe and this is a tool to do that.”
Zeus will also have a role with the Brownsburg Police Department as well.
The meeting also highlighted the BCSC’s IREAD test results for third grade students. Indiana Public Law 109 made passing the test a requirement to move onto fourth grade. The BCSC saw a total pass percentage improvement of more than 4 percent, going from 91.33 percent last year to 95.43 this year.
Students who did not pass the test will attend summer school in June and then retake the test. Snapp said he was thrilled with the improvements.
“We’ve really been riding a crest of success where things just continue to go up,” he said. “We went up in our IREAD scores in all six schools from last year. Everybody’s to be commended. When you look at that, that’s very significant. Our teachers did a really great job. To have a 4 percent gain across the board, (all the schools) are phenomenal.”
In other business, the board had a host of lease executions to approve, including a roofing project that will see new asphalt shingles placed on Cardinal and Delaware Trail elementary schools as well as the facility services building.
“The work would be scheduled to begin next summer,” said John Voigt, chief operations officer for the BCSC.
Voigt said that summer would be the ideal time to do such a project as to not interfere as much with student learning. The total footage of the buildings is 193,000 square feet, but not all are covered by shingles. The project cost is $1 million.
Voigt also pointed out a $1 million safety and security project that the BCSC is looking to implement over the next 12 to 15 months.
“It is focused on a number of different items, some accomplished in-house,” said Voigt.
He said the internal automated communication systems would be vastly improved and more measures would be taken to secure the building from outside entrants.
“We’re going to have to do some significant reconfiguration of office areas,” he said.
Also, the BCSC was able to identify five buses that were authorized to be declared as a surplus and disposed of.
“Our number of routes have been condensed as we try to work with our shrinking transportation operating fund,” said Voigt. “We have too many general education buses and really could use more type A, special needs, what many people call an activity bus with a wheelchair lift that would allow us to have more efficient operation.”
The BCSC is looking to purchase up to three of those buses.