Tipp City’s Board of Education voted Monday to start paying Ruetschle Architects for help preparing for a facilities project but took no official action on tax issues previously discussed for possible placement on the March ballot.


At a Sept. 17 work session board members discussed proposals to ask voters to consider funding both for a prekindergarten through third grade building on the Broadway school site and a new stadium.


During the public comment time at Monday’s meeting most speakers urged the board to first focus on the need for a new school. Board member Scott Dixon was absent.


Sandy Beck, a district educator and resident, said she believes both a stadium and a prekindergarten through third grade building are priorities. However, she added, the new school building is a greater priority.


“I will support construction of a new stadium. I agree it is a priority but it is not the priority at this time,” Beck said. “This is not the time to divide our resources… this is the time to unite with one focus and one message.”                                                                                                              


Resident Jackie Wahl said she supports both a new building and a stadium.


“I ask that you don’t muddy the water by having both issues at the same time,” Wahl said. “Let’s fight one – and I intend to help you guys fight – and then we’ll fight the second one. And, the first one has got to be classrooms. There is no question in my mind about that.”                                                                          


Ruetschle Architects has been working with the district since summer 2011 as it has reviewed possible concepts/plans for facilities construction.


The board OK’d a proposed pre-bond limited services agreement under which the district will pay up to $125,000 for services. Among those services would be providing organization leadership for the proposed building and coordinating preparation tasks such as site surveys and soil borings and project construction documents.


“It is exciting. Ruetschle Associates has been great support for us,” Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said. Board member Kate Johnsen said the firm had worked with the board for several years without being “paid one red cent.”


“We look forward to working with you guys,” she told the architects.


Mike Ruetschle provided a brief update on the prekindergarten through grade three building planning. He said meetings are being held with the core planning team of administrators. Among topics they are discussing are a new building as well as the “swing” space that will be needed for housing students while the Broadway/Central building is demolished and a new building constructed.


Cost estimates for the prekindergarten through third grade building continue to be refined with the cost now around $30 million, or 3.99 mills, Ruetschle said.


In other business Monday, the board accepted the retirement, effective Aug. 1, 2016, of Rick Brownlee, Nevin Coppock Elementary principal.


It also set a public meeting to discuss re-employing Bruce Cahill, a previously retired employee, to his former position of high school boys’ varsity baseball coach. The meeting is scheduled Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the board office.


The board also approved a resolution approving the purchase of 8.66 acres just west of Tippecanoe High School for $370,000 from Tim Logan and Jack Berry. The board in August approved issuing bonds to acquire the land. A use for the property has not been decided.


Also OK’d by the board was accepting $8,770 in grants from the Tipp Foundation. Money will be used for a virtual academy at the high school ($1,770); Orton-Gillingham Reading Intervention Training for L.T. Ball School ($975) and the balance for field trips to Aullwood Farms, Fulton Farms, Victoria Theater and Animals Alive for Nevin Coppock students.