Wawasee discusses $12M in renovations

SYRACUSE – Wawasee School Board held a public 1028 hearing at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

The hearing was held for public discussion on the proposed renovations and improvements to Wawasee High School, Wawasee Middle School, Wawasee Central Office, Syracuse Elementary School and Milford School.

James Elizondo, with City Securities, provided an explanation of the plan specifics. The 20-year bond issue is estimated at $12,160,000; $6,450,000 will go toward Wawasee High School improvements, $1 million toward Wawasee Middle School, $1.5 million toward Wawasee Central Office, $200,000 toward Syracuse Elementary School, $2.5 million toward Milford School, and $510,000 toward financing costs and capitalized interest. The current estimate of the bond assumes interest rates of approximately 1 percent over the current market, with payments beginning in 2018.

Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington asked about future projects that may need funded a decade down the line. Elizondo pointed out that in 2025, there would a noticeable drop in payments when the 2004 bonds are paid off. This drop would give future boards flexibility toward future projects that may need funded at that time.

The board passed the motions to adopt the project resolution, preliminary determination resolution and declaration of official intent to reimburse expenditures.

Cindy Kaiser provided a report on Milford School’s overall progress, and Dr. Larry Allen came to give his quarterly report on DirectCare, which is Wawasee’s employee healthcare system. The board then passed the DirectCare renewal.

Assistant Superintendent Joy Goshert gave the student learning report. The ASUS flipbooks are experiencing breakage, with over 18 percent percent having problems. Communications with ASUS have been very difficult, varying depending on what person was spoken to and what method of communication was used. Director of Personnel and Legal Services James Flecker noted that his recommendation was to see if it is possible to transition out of the flipbooks and purchase Chromebooks instead.

The AdvancED District Accreditation visit will be March 19, and the accreditation team will do interviews and school visits March 20-21. A board meeting will be held in the afternoon March 22 in order for the team to conduct an exit review.

The ISTEP panel put together a proposal for Indiana’s assessment system, but the current system will be used until 2018. A notable change to the system is the recommendation of teachers being able to score the open-ended writing assessments of students not in their district.

Edington reported several items in the “good news” report. Warrior Radio 93.7 FM and Willie 103.5 FM are partnering and will be broadcasting Warrior basketball games.  The Wawasee High School Robotics club qualified three teams for Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship and will be traveling to Indianapolis. Wawasee Building Trades Committee provided Thanksgiving meals to area families.

The Wawasee Middle School hosted a craft bazaar that was a smash hit. There was even a $500 donation in order to buy food and supplies.

The Syracuse Veterans of Foreign Wars gave a plot of land and building to the Wawasee School Corporation. Flecker reported that he had contacted some of the VFW leaders before the building was put on the market. The question of the purchase kept being taken up the ladder, until there was a national vote on the purchase, in which the one-acre plot of land and building was simply given to the school district.

Edington also reported that Syracuse Elementary School construction is slated to be finished by July 1.

Finally, the board approved the appointment of North Webster Community Library board member Eleanor Hooker and Syracuse Community Library board member Diana Castell.