Editorial: At BCSC, it’s a time of hope, high expectations

Photo by Brad Davis | The Republic Improvements for Mt. Healthy Elementary are shown on a vision board, part of the Envision 2030 facility improvement presented to the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. board last week.

This is a time of major change — and high expectations — for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., which is moving forward with an ambitious building plan at the same time it’s looking for new leadership.

Thanks to some expiring debt and prudent long-term planning, BCSC is in the opening planning stages of its Envision 2030 plan, which includes more than $300 million in facilities improvements beginning this year and continuing on a multi-year schedule through this decade.

Details of the first phase of this work were presented to the BCSC board last week, as The Republic’s Brad Davis reported. The biggest-ticket item in this plan is construction of a new westside elementary school. Construction is set to begin this year on the school building that will be located on a 23-acre site along Tipton Lakes Boulevard, south of State Road 46. The new school is estimated to cost $59.82 million, and it will relieve overcrowding in other schools as population growth in the district has shifted to the west and south — trends that are predicted to accelerate.

Virtually every public school facility, excluding elementary schools that have recently undergone renovation, will get some needed upgrades as a result of the Envision 2030 plan. Extensive details of the planned improvements for our local public school system can be found on the school corporation’s website, bcscschools.org.

In The Republic’s editorial space, we’ve praised BCSC for undertaking these improvements in a way that funds them responsibly. It’s quite a remarkable feat of stewardship considering the schools had initially planned to seek this construction funding through a referendum.

That would have been a big ask, and those ballot questions are not guaranteed to pass. However, BCSC had a long list of needed facilities improvements and an unyielding determination to get the projects moving. So school corporation leadership went back to the drawing board. In a nutshell, officials found that by stretching these projects out a bit over a little longer timeline, they could be funded without a referendum, and better yet, without raising local property tax rates.

Our accolades for BCSC leadership and the school board that approved the funding package bear repeating, especially as the school corporation gets deeper into the process of selecting a new superintendent to replace retiring leader Jim Roberts.

The deadline for superintendent applications to be received was Friday, according to BCSC. Now, with the help of the University Search Team, applicants will be evaluated.

The BCSC board expects to name a new superintendent by April 29, with that new leader beginning work on July 1, according to the school corporation.

It’s a desirable position, and we expect numerous exceptional candidates will have applied to lead a vibrant and growing school corporation where big things will be happening for years to come.