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The Southeast Dubois School Board welcomed a pair of student members, Lauren Tretter and Shyanna Gomez to their regular meeting last night. The students attentively listened to Superintendent Rick Allen as he introduced Financial Advisor-Belva Gray from Umbaugh and Associates. Allen describes the addition of the two Forest Park seniors from an economic class who took leadership as new student advisers to the school board.

Allen says having students as advisers for the board was an idea suggested to them last year so that the students could provide their experience regarding issues pertaining to their daily school lives.
He says Wednesday’s meeting was a great example of incorporating this partnership as they discussed the board’s approval of the purchase of a new art kiln. One of the student members explained to the board the issues the student projects were experiencing because of the limitations the current art kiln presents.

Forest Park Principal Jaime Pund explained the process of selection and the result was both Tretter and Gomez to share responsibility in representing the Forest Park student body.

The board also approved a contract agreement with the Southeast Dubois Classroom Teachers Association. Superintendent Rick Allen says under new laws enacted in 2010-2011 state legislators strictly dictate a timeline to settle contracts before November and they are currently in the early stages of having the issue settled.

The board then heard a presentation from Gray, who works with municipalities all across Indiana. The presentation discussed improving STEM courses at Forest Park and Project Lead the Way as well as Agriculture. Umbaugh and Associates is the corporations financial adviser who oversees the corporation’s property tax rates, general funds, general obligations bonds and debt service.

Allen talks about the impact of investing in career-ready courses and with taking care of the facilities and materials that are essential in hands on learning experiences.

Allen noted that the agriculture building was built in 1980 and some of the science has not been renovated since 1976 and that sets a limitation to potential projects. Gray’s study showed the impact new expenses would place upon the corporation financially. The study described that due to debt going off the tax rate that the expenses would be a small impact in just over a 6 year period which would only be a nickel increase on the tax rate. It shows that by the year 2024 the tax rate would be even lower.

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