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New school chief hints at start of Saturday school

Richard Weigel

Richard Weigel

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Updated: September 18, 2014 6:13AM



PORTAGE — Richard Weigel, settling in after six weeks as the new Portage Township School superintendent, dropped a broad hint to the school board Wednesday of a possible new direction for the school district.

“At the last three districts I started Saturday school, and it has always been very effective,” Weigel said.

While generally pleased with the ISTEP results, “I look at the math results and say, ‘this is phenomenal,’” he said of the districtwide 89.9 percent passing rate for math.

Weigel told the board of a bit of his philosophy to achieve better results: “Social promotion does not work. Failing students does not work.”

For Weigel, what seems to work is extra class time on Saturday, if necessary, as the students in the Portage Township school district may soon find out.

The board reviewed the proposed 2015 school budget, which sees no change from 2014 in the proposed spending of $54.7 million for the general fund.

Spending for debt service will increase by $475,000 due primarily to increased debt service to pay for technology loans. Spending for pension bond debt service and capital projects see no increase from 2014 spending.

The transportation fund budget has been cut by $220,000 and the bus replacement fund was cut by nearly $600,000. A total of 10 new buses will be purchased in 2015.

A tax rate of $1.4998 per $100 of assessed property valuation is proposed to pay for the budget, but board members expect the state to approve a lower rate, in line with the actual rate of $1.0154 per $100 of assessed property for 2014.



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