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School board approves longer school day

Pike County board of education members approved extending the school day by 10 minutes beginning in January 2016 to provide for extra days in case of inclement weather. Forecasts call for an exceptionally wet winter which could lead to snow days. ’This is an easy decision,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. ‘This builds us in a little break time instead of using a fall break or spring break day since lots of parents have already made plans. We went for a four-year stretch without a snow day and one year we had nine, so we will have to go with the flow as far as the weather is concerned.’ School instructional time will last an additional 10 minutes at the end of each day. Board members also approved the 2016-17 schedule, including the extra 10 minutes. Board members declared the results of the bond referendum and approved architect contracts for improvements to the stadium and the pre-K building for use as the ninth grade academy. During a work session prior to the meeting, board members discussed the logistics of moving the pre-K students into the old alternative school and expanding the former pre-K building to provide space for 21st Century learning and alternative students as well as the ninth grade academy. ’The pre-K teachers are really excited because the students will get a much bigger playground and teachers will get nice large rooms with windows,’ said Dr. Duncan. ‘We are getting the teachers involved with telling us what they need, which will include a security vestibule so no one can just walk in and walk down the hall.’ The building will also need improvements to restroom facilities and other areas. Board members talked about a new system of fining parents for having students in the school system illegally. According to superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan, the school system partnered with the county and magistrate judge to see that any residents of Pike County who have falsified affidavits stating they live in the county will be fined for each day their child attended the school system illegally. According to Duncan, they will be fined per diem at the local cost of sending a student to school – which was around $13 this year. It was noted that around 30 students have already been discovered attending the schools illegally but until now, there was no suitable punishment to prevent future occurrences. ’These kids are coming to our school system for free and they are getting the best school system and not paying for it,’ said board chairman Ryan Edge. ‘This is the right thing to do for our school system and for taxpayers in Pike County.’ School board members elected Ryan Edge as chairman and April Byrd as vice chair. The school board also: ’¢ Heard an American Legion 5k and 10k run and walk will be held in April. ’¢ Heard the financial report is on track for the time of year and nothing too unusual happened in the first five months to negatively affect the budget. ’¢ Heard Myron Dueck, author of Grading Smarter Not Harder will visit the school system to speak with teachers in July. The author is a high school teacher in the United Kingdom and only has 20 days per year to discuss grading and homework policies.

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