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MCCSC budget includes $4 million for technology upgrades

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The Monroe County Community School Corporation is on track to spend up to $4 million on technology upgrades. The Corporation’s School Board approved the spending at a meeting October 28th. Part of the funding will go toward fulfilling the Corporation’s one-to-one technology initiative, which aims to provide every high school student with an iPad or other mobile device. Board member Sue Wanzer asked about the internet bandwidth needed to accommodate more devices.  Tim Thrasher, the business operations director at MCCSC, answered questions. Thrasher said the majority of the funding will come from a general obligation bond, which the Corporation will have to pay back over time.Wanzer asked about how the $3 million in debt could affect taxes in Monroe County.  Board member Judith Butler asked about exactly how the technology money would be spent and who would make the decisions.  The School Board later voted unanimously to approve spending up to $4 million on the technology upgrades. The Board also gave final approval for next year’s budget. That budget amount is roughly $112 million, up from $108 million last year.

Monroe County Schools Start This Week

Local public schools opened to new and returning students Monday. Bev Smith, a spokesperson for the Monroe County Community School Corporation says that August 4 was the earliest the schools had opened for many years. This increasingly early start coincides with an early finish to the school year in year, in mid-May.

No final numbers have been tabulated as to student enrollment for the this school year. The 2013-2014 year ended with over 10,000 students. For the last few years, the district has averaged between 10 and 11 thousand children.

Smith says that the district will be working on incorporating the new state mandated and generated common core curricular standards into the school lessons. The district is also working on what it calls cultural competency, which  entails increasing diversity among faculty and classroom content, so as to improve the academic performance of minorities. These programs could help schools such as Fairview Elementary which has been given a F grade by state for the last few years.

“Looking at Fairview and really fine-tuning what’s going on there, again we have a new principal there in place which brings a great deal of experience so we look forward to what his experience will yield and mean for Fairview and its quest to improve not only a grade that it receives from the state but really showing and showcasing what children learn and know,” Smith says.

At the other end of the performance spectrum are the schools at which the district hopes to introduce international baccaleureate programs.

 

 

 

 

Bring It On! – March 3, 2014

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Clarence Boone and Bev Smith welcome Monroe County Community School Corporation talent and diversity specialist, Diane Hanks.

PART ONE
On Tonight’s show, Clarence and Bev welcome Diane Hanks, talent and diversity specialist for the Monroe County Community School Corporation, to the show.

Diane, the former vice-principal at Tri-North Middle School, joined the MCCSC in the new role in October of 2013. Her strategic role to bolster the pool of diverse talent in order to increase the number of MCCSC staff members who are minorities.

PART TWO
Headline news and local calendar events of interest to the African-American community.

CREDITS
Hosts: Clarence Boone and Bev Smith
Bring It On! is produced by Clarence Boone
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Our News Editor is Michael Nowlin
Our Board Engineer is Chris Martin

Witmer Approved as Monroe County School Resources Officer

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At the December meeting of the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees, Jim Witmer was approved as the inaugural School Resources Officer for the district. John Carter, director of planning for MCCSC, told us more on what he will do as school resources officer.

“He’ll be providing resources to staff on mediation training and foster relationships with parents and students and teachers,” Carter says.”The benefits of this are if you have someone in your building that the kids are comfortable telling things to, that’s what you want. For example, threats of violence to other students, sometimes the students know those. We want the students to have every avenue possible to tell us. They could tell a teacher, a counselor, a principal, or even a bus driver. Now we have a school resources officer who is versed in law enforcement and can help.”

A portion of Witmer’s salary will come from a grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, a program added to the Indiana code by the 2013 General Assembly. The code states that a school resource officer may make arrests, conduct search or seizure of property, and carry a firearm on school property. Carter talks about other requirements of the position.

“The state statute has said that the qualifications are important for a school resources officer,” Carter says, “The law enforcement training is the most important. You have to keep up your certifications and go to school resource officer training school. They need to know the difference from being law enforcement and law enforcement in a school setting.”

The matching homeland security grant is on a two-year cycle. Carter says he expects that the school corporation will try to renew it, but that there are no policies in place to measure the effectiveness of the position.

“We hope to keep the school resources officer,” Carter says, “We want to be able to say we feel safer with this extra resource of information to provide to students, parents and staff. That’s probably the biggest benefit.”

Jim Witmer is a 23 year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department and began a campaign for Monroe county sheriff this year.

His campaign website has the following announcement, in relation to his new position: “I am sad to say that in choosing to accept this position, I will need to withdraw from the Monroe County Sheriff’s race. Although I wasn’t able to complete that mission, I feel that nothing is more valuable than our children, and I promise that I will do everything in my power to provide a safe environment for our children to learn and grow.”

Monroe County School Diversity Offical Declares Most Minority Employees ‘Satisfied’

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On Tuesday a newly assigned diversity official at the Monroe County Community School Corporation said minority employees there are mostly pleased with their work environment.

Diane Hanks, the corporation’s diversity and talent specialist, said her office held forums last month for employees from underrepresented groups.

“Generally the employees were satisfied and feel comfortable in their respected environment,” Hanks said, “Their work environment is inclusive regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability and age.”

The forums were a response to the same controversy that led to the creation of Hanks’ new position.

Many community members were angry when the corporation promoted a white administrator to be principal at Tri-North Middle School. Hanks had also applied for the job, and some alleged that racial bias affected the decision, especially because Hanks had more experience as an administrator.

During that controversy, some MCCSC employees of color said a lack of diversity at the Corporation was a problem. And in her report this week, Hanks said there are indeed still issues that need addressed.

Hanks went on to say that the corporation should address concerns from employees who want more information about how to advance within the corporation.

Daily Local News – August 30th, 2013

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On August 27th, the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees was joined by a crowd of community members angry about a lack of diversity in the Corporation’s faculty and staff; In their  meeting August 28th , the Bloomington City Council discussed proposed new rules the city police chief said would help recover stolen property; At its August 26 meeting, the Ellettsville Town Council delayed a vote on a contract that would change the way utility bills are sent to town residents.

FEATURE
GARLIC FEST
The Sycamore Landtrust’s Hillbilly Haiku jump starts a Bloomington Labor Day weekend full of festivals. The annual 4th Street Festival of the arts runs Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm along 4th and grant streets, featuring area artists and local non profits. Also this weekend in Third Street Park: the second annual Bloomington Garlic Festival will be offering food, live music and art, on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10am. All foods will feature garlic and there will also be a Healthful Garlic Cooking Contest with cash prizes awarded on Saturday sponsored by The Runcible Spoon, and featured speakers  on the topic of buying and preparing healthy foods. Event Organizers Dave Cox & Tim Haas stopped into the studio earlier this week, and speak with WFHB Board President about the weekend happenings, here in today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOLUNTEER CONNECTION
Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by Joe Crawford and Jack Renner
for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Services
Volunteer Connection was produced by Sarah Hettrick, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our Engineer is Harrison Wagner
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

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