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Prairie Heights adds time to school days

The Prairie Heights School Board voted Saturday morning to tack on a half hour to the end of each school day, starting March 3 and continuing through April 28, as it works to make up days missed due to the severe winter weather that has wrecked school schedules. School will also be in session on Good Friday, April 18. Classes will also continue until June 6.

The proposal to add the time was made so that the three schools could make up instructional time prior to the state standardized testing later this spring. Each building will be given the freedom to use the additional time for the most benefits to its students.

The additional time per day through April 28 will allow the district to make up a total of three days. The district is also looking at getting two days of those missed waived by the state.

That leaves four days for the district to make up, which were covered by taking student days until June 6. The last student day had been June 2.

Currently, a graduation date is not set, and is expected to be discussed at the board’s March meeting.

Board member Mike Howe asked how the new timetable would work if the district has a two- or three-hour delay. Superintendent Alan Middleton told the board that he didn’t think that it would affect being able to count the additional time, but he would confirm that.

In other business:

The board approved holding a public hearing on proposed renovations to the school buildings at the March 17 board meeting.

The scope of the project will include HVAC work at the high school, as well as roofing. The board was told that the district will need to replace all of the buildings’ roofs within the next 12 years. The public will be able to hear more information on the proposed projects at the public hearing, as well as provide their input.

The district does not expect to see any new tax levies to pay for the work. The board was provided with information showing that the district has one of the lowest overall tax rates in Northeast Indiana at 0.5284, while having the second lowest assessed valuation at $671 million. Only Fremont Schools has a lower tax rate at 0.4259. Hamilton Schools is the only district with a lower assessed valuation at $349 million.