Chesterton Tribune



Discovery School seeks to collect unpaid fees

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There is about $6,400 that has gone uncollected in activity and book rental fees this year for Discovery Charter School, said its principal Ernesto Martinez during Wednesday’s School Board of Directors meeting.

The school sent letters this past week to parents who have not paid the fees, reminding them to pay by the deadline of May 1, Martinez said. These are not families who are on the free or reduced lunch but who have not paid the fee “for whatever reason,” he said.

The activity fee is $105 while the book rental fee is $85.

The board talked about sending a follow-up letter to the parents who do not make the deadline and possible changes to the school handbook requiring parents to pay the fees upfront at registration

“It’s a significant amount,” said board member Allan Gabrielle.

Martinez said that by law the school cannot turn students away because their parents have not paid the fee. The school may take legal action to collect but that would likely cost more than the $6,400 it hopes to collect.

He’s not sure if the school can withhold privileges that come with the activity fee and doesn’t think it would be fair to the student since it’s their parent’s responsibility to pay the fee.

Board member Janine Girzadas said the board’s letter could tell parents the board is evaluating possible circumstances or conditions for non-payment.

One parent in the audience encouraged the board to include strong wording in the letter since Discovery has a long waiting list of children whose parents want them to attend the school. “It’s not fair. It’s really upsetting”, she said.

ISTEP testing

Also in his report to the board, Martinez said Discovery was only four tenths of a point away from reaching the status of a four-star school for 2013 by the state department of education.

The evaluation system looks at combined passing percentages in ISTEP+ scores for English / Language Arts and Math for students in all grades. Martinez said Discovery met all 18 categories except for one.

Discovery had achieved the DOE’s four-star status in 2012, he said.

Board president Laurie Metz said the school can still be proud of the fact it received an “A’ grade from the state’s model, which is also based on ISTEP+ scores.

Martinez said that ISTEP+ testing for spring will start next week on Thursday. He told the board to be aware that the company administering the tests, CBT/McGraw-Hill, had glitches in school standardized testing in Oklahoma this week similar to those with ISTEP+ testing last year in Indiana.

Martinez said that Discovery saw just a minor glitch last year but nowhere near the problems that some schools in the state were reporting.

PAC spring fundraiser

Girzadas also announced there are still tickets available for this year’s Discover Our World fundraiser put on by the Parents Advisory Council, which will take place at the Marquette Park Pavilion in Miller Beach this Saturday, April 26, from 6-10 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at the door or by calling the school.

Girzadas said there will be live and silent auctions, hor d’oeuvres served and a cash bar.

PAC also announced its new officers. Lisa Apatao will be the new president, Jenny Burkhart, Vice-President, Jessica Becker, Secretary and Heather Miller, Treasurer.

PAC will also be holding a teacher appreciation week starting May 5 at Discovery.


Posted 4/24/2014





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