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Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Parkway raises rates for preschool

By Tom Stankard
ROCKFORD - Parkway Local Schools' preschool tuition fees will rise next school year to help cover the program's budget gap.
Treasurer Debra Pierce said at Monday's school board meeting that the program has been operating in the red.
To help make ends meet, board members agreed to increase tuition to $1,620 per year for four days per week and $810 per year for two days per week and charge a $25 one-time registration fee. The changes take effect for the 2017-2018 school year, she said.
Elementary School Principal Mark Esselstein said the previous hourly rate was about $3.25 per hour and that will increase to $3.50 per hour. He said about 75 students are enrolled in the program.
Additionally, Pierce said the number of days in session will increase from 132 to 142, from Aug. 23-May 21. The morning session will be from 8-11:15 a.m. and the afternoon session will be from noon-3:15 p.m.
The program had been costing more than it was collecting, Pierce said. The program was about $28,000 short in the 2016-2017 school year.
Pierce said she is pursuing grants to make up the deficit.
Officials had discussed increasing tuition the previous year but ultimately decided against it, reasoning that having as many children as possible start school early would improve test scores and performance down the line.
Board members on Monday also accepted the resignation of three staff members, including teacher's aide Jill Karcher, effective at the end of the school year; bus driver Dennis Hocket, effective Aug. 31; and bus driver Brenda Case, effective June 1.
Board members hired Eric Stachler and Dan Cairns as summer physical education instructors, both effective June 5, pending enrollment.
The board agreed on a 3-1 vote to approve a request from Rockford village officials to waive $3,602 in delinquent taxes. Superintendent Greg Puthoff said the village had purchased a property at 507 W. Pearl St. and had torn down the house. They are trying to sell the property, he said. Village officials had requested board members to waive taxes owed to the district.
Board member Jeff Armstrong voted against the measure after his motion to deny the waiver failed to receive support. He said he didn't want the board to set a precedent of waiving such taxes.
In other action, board members,
• approved purchasing a 2017 Blue Bird 84-passenger school bus at a cost of $84,000.
• approved a list of supplemental contracts for the 2017-2018 school year, including Joe Falk as head boys' golf coach, Teri Samples as head girls' golf coach, Ann Vian as head cross country coach, Jordan Henkle as head varsity volleyball coach and Shane Wellman as head varsity football coach.
• approved paying $200 per track meet to Anita Morton for organizing meets during the 2016-2017 season.
• approved the Union Township Tax Increment Financing district at 90 percent for 15 years and also asked to waive the 45-day advance notice. To pay for road upgrades, estimated at $100,000, near a proposed hog farm, township trustees have proposed setting up a TIF district.
Taxes on the proposed hog facilities near the Van Wert County line, according to county commissioners, would be redirected to the TIF.
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