New Castle News

September 11, 2013

New Castle Schools: Learning center project on schedule

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Lockley Early Learning Center construction is on schedule, and kindergartners can expect to move in after Christmas.

David Johnson, an architect with Eckles Architecture, who is overseeing the project, updated New Castle Area School Board members at their public work session Monday on the status of the $22 million building project.

Kindergartners, meanwhile, are being taught in the former St. Joseph the Worker Church school building.

District officials have opted not to transfer first- and second-graders from their classrooms to the centralized location in mid-year.

“The kindergarten is different,” district business manager Joseph Ambrosini said after the meeting. “We are leasing the building at St. Joseph's. Moving the children will save the district about $2,700 per month.”

Board members also got their first look at how the Affordable Care Act —Obamacare — will affect the district’s bottom line.

Robin Hope, vice president of educational affairs of the Reachini Group, laid out how insurance costs and coverage is expected to change when the Affordable Care Act kicks in during the 2014-15 school year.

New Castle is one of 17 districts insured through the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV consortium.

 Ambrosini said the current school year will serve as the “base year.” In the next nine months, he said, he and the district will track hours of employees who qualify for benefits.

Hope provided a general overview of the legislation and reminded board members benefits must be offered to employees who work an average of 30 hours per week in the course of the nine-month school year.

In addition to teachers and professionals employed by the district, those could include substitute teachers called by the district on a regular basis, personal care providers, cafeteria workers and those with supplemental contracts such as coaches, particularly coaches who participate — and are paid — to coach back-to-back seasons.

The district this week also experienced its first “Hurricane Tuesday.”

Students enjoyed an early dismissal, and teachers from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 will participate in professional development programs, where they discussed common core standards and how the district meets or will improve its curriculum to meet them.