PRINCETON — There's only one updated, correct copy of North Gibson school policy, under lock and key in the North Gibson School Corporation's administrative office. But there are versions — which may or may not be updated — scattered across the school campus, that school staff rely upon for daily business.
And "updated" is a bit of a misnomer, according to Superintendent Brian Harmon, who said some NGSC school policies haven't been touched since the early 1970s.
North Gibson trustees agreed Monday night it's time to hire Ohio-based Neola Inc., a consulting firm that updates school policy manuals to comply with state and federal laws. They authorized Harmon to contract for the work, which includes a $10,000 basic policy update, $5,400 to make the policy available as a link on the school website for the public to review, $1,225 more for twice-yearly policy updates and $650 for annual maintenance.
The electronic version is a first for the school district. Harmon said organizing the policy book will make it easier for the public to have access to the policies behind decisions.
"It's a massive task," he told trustees. "Much of the policy for this board is antiquated. We have added as required by law." He said the process will take about a year to complete. Even contracting with Neola Inc. as a consulting firm is going to mean a lot of work for the school board, but it will be less work and less expensive than trying to tackle the update on their own, he reported.
"Believe me, we will all be so sick of reading board policy...but the time to do it is past due," said Harmon.
The final approval of all of the policies rests with the school board. Board member Travis Nolcox noted a provision of the contract suggests five planning sessions and 24 hours of faith-based consultation.
"Board policy is such a key foundation to what we do," said school board president Mark Iunghuhn. "Knock on wood, we have not really had a true board policy issue in a long, long time."
Board member Mike Ice noted that South Gibson school board has been doing policy updates too.
"It's necessary and we need to do it," Iunghuhn said.
NO LUNCH PRICE HIKE
According to a federal formula mandating the price of school lunches for schools that receive federal money, North Gibson's breakfast and lunch prices should increase by a penny per meal this coming school year.
But Harmon said increasing the price by a penny is a headache the school can avoid by eating the $1,087.49 cost difference, allocating that amount from non-federal funding source.
Harmon offered school trustees an analysis of the North Gibson Food Service operational costs, noting that "healthy" food items mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for reimbursement cost more. Nolcox noted, reviewing the analysis, that the school district served 5,000 fewer meals last school year than five years ago.
The school breakfast prices remain the same as last year: $1.40 for elementary students, $1.60 for middle and high school students. Lunch prices also remain the same, at $2.25 per elementary student, $2.45 per middle and high school student and $3.75 per adult.