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Superintendent: State payments not covering book, tech costs 

Centerville school board President Todd Duke, right, recognized art teacher Chris Evrard, left, and Olivia VanWinkle, Alexis Torbeck, Brooke Jordan and Cai Thompson. They were among Bulldogs who placed at Richmond Art Museum’s all-county high school exhibit that closes May 18. (Photo by Millie Martin Emery via Western Wayne News)

(WESTERN WAYNE NEWS) — Centerville-Abington Community Schools plans to provide a clear picture of the rising costs of curriculum materials that families can’t be asked to pay. 

Superintendent Mike McCoy told the board that administrators previously worked hard to keep book and technology fees low for families, protecting them from some costs through other funding sources such as the pandemic’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. 

However, now that Indiana schools aren’t allowed to charge families even for laptops or college-level materials, McCoy said it’s important to offer “a more realistic picture of what it’s really costing us.” 

He asked principals to outline their 2024-25 expenses for the board at its May 8 meeting. 

The state now gives schools about $150 for materials per student. That covers Rose Hamilton’s $140 annual expenses for grades K-2. 

However, older students have more expensive materials, and costs for workbooks, magazines, supplies and digital products keep increasing. 

Grade 5 would cost $171.12 and grade 6, $182.91. Two junior high books are being adopted, likely increasing costs, but as of now, seventh grade would be $182.45 with band or $175.45 without. Eighth grade would be $194.69 with band or $187.69 without.

Depending on courses chosen, high school can be even more expensive. Senior speech is free, but sophomore English is $39 for the year. An environmental science course is $60.59. A semester of dual-credit English through Ivy Tech is about $55. 

To reduce costs, principals are discontinuing some digital curriculum materials and seeking free programs as replacements.

Textbook adoption

CACS is preparing to adopt a few new textbooks for subjects such as science (grades 4-6) and junior high personal finance and health, plus some new high school business courses. The books would replace some in use that are about 20 years old. 

Indiana legislators just required the Class of 2028 and beyond to earn a personal finance credit before graduating. Centerville would complete that requirement in eighth grade.

Adoption will be considered during the board’s public meeting at 7 p.m. May 22.   

In other business

  • Assistant Superintendent Sean Stevenson submitted 62 bus stop-arm violations this school year to police. Seventy-six were submitted during 2023’s second semester. Violations are decreasing on secondary/rural roads. Most violations occur on U.S. 40. All four lanes must stop when buses load/unload.  
  • After a second reading, the board approved student handbook revisions for 2024-25 and policies on criminal organization activity, registered sex/violent offenders, latchkey programs, Pledge of Allegiance/moments of silence, advertisements/publications/naming rights, animals on school property, intellectual property ownership/revenue, community use of school facilities and Title I comparability.  One notable policy update: Service animals will have to relieve themselves in areas away from where students play or congregate. 
  • The athletic handbook, which had no changes, and Music Boosters’ scaffolding donation also were approved. 
  • Chris Evrard introduced his award-winning students in Richmond Art Museum’s all-county show. Evrard said students see what others are creating, and he appreciates administrator and community support for the arts.
  • McCoy is weighing costs/benefits of joining public schools’ lawsuit against social media companies after suffering damages prompted by a TikTok challenge encouraging vandalism. 
  • Centerville-Abington Elementary’s chiller, less than three years old, has a compressor, two fan motors and a solenoid out. Repairs not under warranty could cost $18,000. CACS’ architect is seeking a solution.

A version of this article appeared in the May 15 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.