2021 – October 27th – Live Notes from the HSE School Board Meeting

The following are my notes from the Hamilton Southeastern School Board meeting on October 27, 2021. Because my notes are taken live during the meeting, there might typos, transcription errors, and such. To get the most accurate information, tune in and watch the live streams of the meetings or the posted recordings after the meeting on the HSESchools.org web site. The numbers next to the titles should align with the agenda items listed on the BoardDocs web site.

2.01 – Snapshot of Success: Fishers High School Dance Marathon

From Board Docs:

The Fishers High School Dance Marathon has won the Children’s Miracle Network national award for Best High School Dance Marathon. The school’s annual event has been one of the most successful high school marathons in the state of Indiana, raising $600,000 since 2008 for Riley Hospital for Children. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Fishers Dance Marathon was able to have a six-figure total while having an online marathon.

Fishers Dance Marathon was able to demonstrate remarkable success in online fundraising leading into their marathon. In 2020, Fishers raised $6,174.57 in the 2 weeks leading into the marathon. Despite fundraising challenges over the past two years, Fishers was able to top 2020, raising $21,775.05 in the two weeks leading into the marathon.

The Fishers Dance Marathon leadership worked to make the contest have a wider reach through social media. Each contestant had an Instagram Page where they would receive points for followers, engagement on posts, and promoting the marathon. To end the contest, all the contestants participated in a lip-syncing competition at the event. At the end of the night, two individuals were crowned as Fishers Dance Marathon Royalty.

You can donate to the Dance Marathon group. Many students have denotation pages as well as the group.  Tonight there was an All Treats No Tricks event happening at FHS sponsored by the Riley Dance Marathon Group as a fundraiser. The other clubs at the school participate within this by having a table to give out treats (and some do games as well). My daughter’s have/had a table at the event for the FHS Disney Club!

(I had issues with my video feed, so I missed the first part of the Dance Marathon Group presentation. )

3.x – Consent Agenda

No questions or comments, passed 6 – 0 .(Brad Boyer not at the meeting).

4.x – Public Comments

Happen during items.

5.01 – Electric Bus

School Bus

Zach McKinney presented information on the funding of an electric bus. The district did get the grant for the bus. They requested a grant for two buses, but they only had one bus funded. The total grant was $326,930 which is higher than what was expected. The grant was higher than the $315,000 cap that was expected). There were also grants for propane, but the school passed on this as not being viable for our district. We were one of four districts that got grants for electric buses. The district cost will be less than $108,000 for the bus (He said $800,000 , but that was an error), which is less than what the school can get a diesel bus for. If board approves this, they should be able to get the bus by this summer and have it for next August.

Public Comments

(1) Ray – He had a list of questions, but he talked with Zach earlier. He indicated the district get good data while testing the new bus. He specified getting milage per charge for the bus would be good. He indicated winter cold temperatures could decrease milage. Need to track milage to determine if it can be used for field trips without concern. Reliability should be good, but is it. Chevrolet had a recall after all. Battery segregation is an issue that should be tracked. Mentioned the district should do an ROI on the bus as well.

Board Comments / Discussion

Suzanne asked what the life of a bus is. The battery life is warranted to 10 years. If there is an issue in that time, the battery would be replaced. Our diesel buses have a 10 year warranty on their engines as well.

Question on starting the buses in cold weather. There will be some degradation, but not concerning. They had three choices of buses. The dropped the California company from consideration due to less info on cold. They hope for a 12 to 13 year replacement plan on buses, but they hope an electric bus could go longer.

Michelle Fullhart asked about the cost. The total cost of around $480,000. A diesel bus would be between $135,000 to $170,000 , but this cost will be going up as emission rules change.

What is the cost of electricity versus diesel? They based estimate on what Bloomington got as far as savings. They expect to get about $2,000 a year in savings per route. On trips, they don’t know what the total rage is. They expect 150 to 200 miles. Bloomington saw an increase of 30% in milage after the first month as they learned to effectively drive the bus.  The savings is about $16 a day.

A board member mentioned that a negative is that the noise of a diesel goes away. They won’t hear the bus coming!  Zach commented that kids are supposed to be at the stop 5 minutes earlier. It was also commented that the driver will hear what the kids are saying on the bus now due to lower noise…. This will change the student management on the bus.

Granted, you won’t hear the bus coming down the road like you can now. The bus actually makes an auditable noise / tone as it slows down for a bus stop so the kids can hear it.

There is more information on this topic on BoardDocs.  Purchasing the bus passed 6-0.

5.02 Adoption of Budget, CPF, and Bus Replacement Plans

There are a lot of documents related to this agenda item on BoardDocs.

A few things were reviewed:

  • Referendum fund is just over $23,700,000. A number of other numbers were rattled off as to what was being reviewed approved. Education fund is around$150 million, which is what covers teacher cost.
  • Grants are not a part of the budgeting process. They have a separate process.
  • Total rate will be higher than where they land $1.31, but they expect the rate to be around $1.23, but should be less than $1.24. Since 2018, the overall tax rate fund has been on a decline and the expect that to continue into 2022.
  • Referendum fund .2275 cannot go up. As Assessed Value increases so does the amount collected. Property tax caps have had an impact of over $3 million (My comment: but those cap dollar value went up when the Assessed Values went up)

Suzanne asked for laymen terms. She commented that other government agencies have been able to decrease their rate while still getting more dollars. Response was that the district announces a higher rate, but plans to do a lower rate. She said we’ve been able to go down since 2018. Can’t go higher than what is advertised, but they generally certify at a lower amount.

Michelle commented that assessed value of your home increases can cause your tax bill to go up even if the rate stays the same (or goes down).

All budgeting items were approved by the board 6-0

(If time allows in the future, I’ll try to pull some details from the budgets to post.)

6.01 – Public Hearing for Bargaining Agreement between HSE Schools & HSE Education Association

The district works to hire great staff while maintaining a balanced budget. I’ve reported in the past that HSE is one of the higher paying districts in Indiana, although Indiana is one of the lower paying states.

There are contract updated posted on BoardDocs. The contract includes a 3.25% increase. The payment includes a 2-tier program to a 4-tier program for insurance as well as other changes. There is more information on this on BoardDocs. The following information is pulled from BoardDocs:

The Hamilton Southeastern Education Association (HSEA), the Department of Staff and Students Services, and the Business Office worked together on this agreement starting in mid-July. We had primary goals of remaining competitive on teacher salaries, while also addressing some dire financial issues within our insurance contribution plan. We also had to address non-compliance matters as cited by IEERB, the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board. The steps within our teacher contract salary schedule provide a 2.9% raise, or increment, when you advance. For example, when you move from step Those steps will increase by 3.25% for this contract year. The 2.9% provides an increase of anywhere from $1,203 to $2,321. The 3.5% base salary increase provides total additional compensation from $1,348 to $2,678. Total compensation increases range from $2,629 for teachers early in their careers up to $5,074 for our more experienced staff. During negotiations, we made substantial changes to our insurance program. We are moving from a 2-tier program (employee only/family) to a 4-tier program (employee only, EE +child(ren), EE + spouse, and family). This provides a more equitable employee plan cost based on utilization. The HSEA graciously agreed to budget our insurance plan based on expected cost plus 5% to ensure our plan is solvent today, tomorrow, and beyond. Finally, the employee contribution on a single plan went from 1.5% to 5%. The other coverage types are currently at a contribution rate of 20%. Each time we bargain, language adjustments are made and extra-curricular activities adjusted to make sure we are right-sized, however, these items are small in comparison to the salary and benefit pieces that we were able to accomplish this year.

The big thing was that they are working to make it easy going forward to do contracts. The contract focused on not causing anyone to end up with less money. They contract is a one year contract instead of the normal two year contract. They hope to get back onto a two year contract next year.

The teacher unit has not approved the contract yet. The teachers have not yet voted on the contract. They won’d do this until after IEERB reviews and approves it (Indiana Education Employment Relations Board).

Public Comments

(1) Mike
Minor comment he hoped. Adjustments were made to the extracurricular activities. He wondered what those were. He asked if HSE was a member of the NSEA. That was it.

School Board Comments / Discussion

Extracurriculars is anything outside of the normal teaching. It was asked if this was related to the one year change versus two years.  The answer is no. The one year versus two year is simply the term of the overall contract agreement. This simply means they have to renegotiated next year. The one year versus two year is not directly to

One unit is equal to $390 dollars. This is what is used to determine stipends for various extra positions. For every 60 students in a program you have to add an advisor. Unified Sports were added and compensated to their comparables. They added a multiple to Lacrosse because it was not in line with other sport. They added a stipend for the district art show. Another sponsor was added to track. They added another club. Most of these changes were maintenance and appropriateness of extracurriculars. Nothing was “earth shattering”. They also added class coverage – for when a teacher covers another class.

The contract had nothing to do with sub pay or anything like that. The focus was on teachers.

This will come back to the board for approval

6.02 – Redrawing Boundary Lines Update

They stated there was good turnout for the meeting yesterday. They gained input on 3 possible scenarios.  They indicated there around 25 to 30 people (which different from what was reported). The slides from the presentation are linked to another post on my Facebook School page.

This morning there were 55 responses to a survey that was posted. They want to apply that information back to the scenarios to be a part of what is discussed on November 4th. The survey is on the website and should be communicated out to some of the building people. The survey should be linked under the “Happenings” section of the HSESchools.org site:  (LINK:   https://www.hseschools.org/happenings/redefining-boundary-lines)

Matters of Corporate Interest

Dr. Stokes commented that it was wonderful to see the public out last night. She wanted to go on record saying that they always want to hear from our community. They do try to fit information into the plan. They do have a link on the website to the information that has been shared.

She also thanked Abby and Ms. Chandler and those that worked diligently on the contract. It is a lot of work. She indicated there was a lot of collaboration, which is indicative of the great relationship between the teachers and union.

We are still in school, which is great. At some point they will revisit masks, but SIS is still important – Students in School.

Draft Agenda – There will be another update on the boundaries on the next agenda. The agreement for teachers ill be back at the next meeting for approval.

Other Stuff –

Janet Pritchett mentioned –

  • November 4th there is a work session related to the redrawing of boundary lines.
  • November 9th work session will be on Lily Grant and an update on mental health.

The work sessions are open to the public to observe.

Sectional – Tigers versus Royals at HSE. The All Game passes don’t work for this game.

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