August 29, 2008


By JOHN MARTIN Courier & Press staff writer 464-7594 or [email protected]

Federally mandated school choice options continue to play a role in population shifts in Evansville's public schools, Superintendent Vincent Bertram told the School Board on Monday.

About 800 Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. children are attending school outside their home districts this year because of the seamless choice option.

The option is available at high-poverty elementary and middle schools that don't meet No Child Left Behind standards in successive years.

Family relocations within Vanderburgh County also contribute to school population shifts, he said.

Official EVSC enrollment data won't be released until mid- September, but Bertram said the corporation is addressing staffing issues at a few schools.

He mentioned Plaza Park Middle School and Stockwell Elementary School as buildings where enrollment is up by nearly 100 children.

School Board member Patricia Swanson told Bertram she's fielded calls from parents concerned about class sizes at some schools. He said the plan is to address those issues this week.

In other business Monday, the School Board:

n Gave administrators permission to advertise for the demolition of three buildings on First Avenue, just north of Cedar Hall Elementary School.

Bertram's strategic plan for the EVSC calls for the expansion of Cedar Hall, a century-old building that is to become a K-8 school. Vanderburgh County residents will vote Nov. 4 on selling bonds to help pay for the plan.

Board President Mike Duckworth asked if legal advertising could be bypassed in order to move the demolitions forward more quickly, noting the three empty buildings present some safety concerns as long as they are standing. EVSC officials said they will investigate the possibility.

n Learned Technology Director Mike Russ will ask the School Board at its next meeting to approve a $2.9 million request for a technology loan through the Indiana Common School Fund.

The 1 percent interest loan, which would fund upgraded computer labs and interactive teaching devices, would be paid back from EVSC's debt service budget over the next five years, Russ said.

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