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Q&A with Todd Camp

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North Posey educational leader talks about possibility of future with New Harmony

Mount Vernon Democrat correpsondent Mary Keck talked with Todd Camp, superintendent of North Posey schools, about possible consolidation with New Harmony. The topic did not come up during the Monday, Dec. 12 North Posey School Board meeting, but below is what Camp had to say after the meeting.
 Keck: During the board meeting, Pres. James Scarfia mentioned that the board had talked with North Posey recently. Could you elaborate on those talks?
Camp: We’ve been in continual talks with them. Two of our board members have met with two of their board members and we’ve brainstormed and explored the legalities of it, and we also brainstormed ways to make the transition smoother for students. Our association president and their association president met with a consolidation attorney looking at labor contracts and so on. We’re still communicating, and we’re working on getting answers.
The most important piece about the transition which is the the students will be the easiest. The rest of it requires a lot of legal documentation, and we’re having a hard time getting answers. We have more meetings scheduled.
Keck: Is this merger certain?
Camp: I think both parties want to make this work, and I think it will. Hopefully we can make this thing happen very soon. From a North Posey standpoint, we see this as a win-win.
I know that there’s a lot of emotion from New Harmony, but I hope that with our communication and our joint efforts that we can reduce that.
I think at this point ... they [NHS school board] want to merge with North Posey, but I think they have to leave their options open. I know that through the conversations with my board and with a few board members of theirs that I’ve talked to extensively both boards want this to work out. Anything could happen right now, but I don’t see any major obstacle that would stop it.
Keck: When would this consolidation take place?
Camp: Fall 2012
Keck: What do you think New Harmony stands to gain from joining with North Posey?
Camp: I think New Harmony had a good school, and it is unfortunate that finances caused them for the last four or five years to be under that cloud asking, “Are we going to close? Are we going to be here next year?” I think that cloud hurt their ability to attract students, and now the town can advertise a school that is not under that cloud, and they can hopefully attract more people into that wonderful community.
I don’t think the students were being short changed, I think they [NHS] could provide a great education.
Keck: Would the students be having classes in the NHS building?
Camp: Right now the preliminary plan is that we’re looking at everybody moving to North Posey. Obviously the building will be there; it is a nice building. We’re looking at every option we can.
Keck: Is there any chance that North Posey would need to consolidate with another school in the future? In other words, does the North Posey School Corporation offer financial stability?
Camp: North Posey is as solvent and financially solid as any school corporation in the state of Indiana. We have good facilities; our financial situation is excellent, and we just received by an A-excellent rating in the state grading system. We were only one school of 16 in the state who achieved that.
Keck: Would you take on staff and employees from NHS?
Camp: There are several different ways to consolidate. We’ll have to look at our staff and their staff and the staff would have to be merged at some point, and we’re hoping that we can get that done.
Keck: Will there be any public meetings for citizens to attend about consolidation with North Posey?
Camp: We’re tentatively trying to put some dates together for town hall meetings in both locations so that the public can meet and ask us questions. We are trying to get educated and learn, so we can be ready to give them solid answers.
Keck: What has been the student reaction to the merger?
Camp: Some students have come over to visit, and I’ve gone there to visit. We’re planning events and orientations to get the students and parents more involved so that when the transition does take place, this is not an unknown.