Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 16, 2014

Eastern adjusts their school calendar

Tennis courts will be repaired with reserve funds.

By Lauren Fitch Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Snow dominated discussion at the Eastern Howard County School Corp. board of education meeting Tuesday, as it has for many schools across the state lately.

The board voted 4-0 in favor of a plan to add eight missed school days back into the 2013-14 calendar. The Indiana Department of Education has offered a variety of ways for schools to make up their missed time, and Superintendent Tracy Caddell took advantage of many of those options.

“We think this is a way to make up those days and what it does is put us back on May 29, [the originally planned last day of school],” Caddell said.

Eastern staff and students now will be in school on President’s Day, Feb. 17, on Good Friday, April 18, for an extra hour on 12 Wednesdays this spring to make up two school days and for four e-learning days to be held on Saturdays. The IDOE still has to approve the plan.

“The teachers will put together a variety of lessons that can go home on an iPad,” Eastern Elementary School Principal Randy Mauer explained about the e-learning Saturdays, adding that Internet access at home will not be required.

The board also approved moving graduation back one week to June 8.

Even after gaining support from the administrators, teachers union, parent advisory committee and student advisory committee, Caddell acknowledged the make-up day situation is not ideal.

“I guarantee you there will be parents who are not happy about the Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he said. “I don’t know how else to avoid that unless we just put them on the back of the calendar.”

In other business

Also at the meeting, the board approved offering a Camp Invention summer program for students in first through sixth grade. For a base price of $220 for the week, families can send their children to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics-focused camp, where students will invent and build a variety of gadgets.

“I was fascinated because I saw a program that was student-oriented and the basis of the program is STEM,” said Tina Marcus, the gifted and talented teacher who will direct the camp.

Camp Invention is a national program that provides curriculum, materials, training and staff pay for the camp.

The board also approved spending $41,950 to repair the tennis court surface. Caddell recommended repairing cracks as a less expensive alternative to resurfacing the courts.

“We’ve had a number of issues with our tennis courts in the past few years,” he said. “There are some large cracks. It’s been really tough for our tennis team to compete on those courts.”

Eastern’s capital projects fund has been limited by a cap on property tax that went into effect a few years ago, so the board approved taking money from fund equity to pay for the tennis court improvements.

“I would like to see this done because our tennis team has waited and waited on it,” Caddell said. “It’s been a property tax cap issue, but we have some money in the rainy day fund we could use.”

The board will meet again at 6:30 p.m. March 11 at the corporation administrative office.

Education reporter Lauren Fitch can be reached at 765-454-8587, by email at lauren.fitch@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @LaurenBFitch.