Storm Water Plans Presented to Knox Board of Public Works

The Knox Board of Public Works discussed plans for a storm water system for the new addition to the Knox Elementary School.

Andy Bearman from Commonwealth Engineers said that the addition will create an additional one percent rain-water run-off as a portion of the ground covered with grass will be dug up for the project. That soft area was able to absorb the extra water so it wouldn’t create any water build up anywhere on the property.

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Enjoy the Sounds of the Season at Knox Music Programs

Annual Christmas music programs are scheduled at the Knox Elementary School starting with 3rd grade students today. The 2nd grade, tomorrow;  1st grade, Wednesday, Dec. 10th; and kindergarten students, Thursday, Dec. 11th. All programs begin at 6 p.m. in the Knox Elementary School gymnasium. A “Book Fair” for students and parents follows each concert.

The Middle and High School Holiday Band Concert begins at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 10th in the Weinberg Gymnasium.

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Knox School Board Spotlights Tech Tribe

Knox Elementary SchoolMembers of the Knox Elementary School’s “Tech Tribe” were in the “Spotlight” portion of the agenda at Monday’s Knox School Board meeting. The students, under the direction of Laura Barnes, who meet in weekly after school sessions, displayed their work in video production, showed board members and the Superintendent one of 13 that they have produced. Continue reading

Knox Superintendent Discusses Proposed Elementary Project

A final public hearing on the renovation and addition project for the Knox Elementary School is scheduled for Monday, November 3rd. Superintendent A. J. Gappa explains the proposed 5,500 square foot addition.

“When the referendum failed a year ago, plan B was as things go along and failed,” explained Gappa. “We had to fix them but that can become expensive in the long run. One of our major perceived needs was our kitchen situation where we have a 60-year-old cafeteria doing all the cooking and then carting the food down for the half of the building at the west end serving and warming the food at that point in time.”

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Knox School Board Considering Elementary School Renovation, Expansion

Knox-School-Board-2014A public hearing was held by the Knox School Board Monday evening for the renovation and addition being planned for Knox Elementary School. The project is designed to expand the kitchen and cafeteria areas by about 5,500 square feet. A final hearing is scheduled for November 3rd.

Superintendent A.J. Gappa presented a detailed summary the 2015 budget, expressing a concern about the effect of reduced revenues on operations. The board will hold the final hearing on that budget on October 20th.

The purchase of a 78 passenger bus was approved, as was the hire of four substitute teachers and substitute personnel for food service and custodial work.

Raelyn Binkley was approved for the position of Middle School Treasurer, effective October 20th, subject to the customary criminal history report.

In the “Spotlight on Success” portion of the agenda, Middle School Principal Josh Pugh and three students made presentations on the successful Manufacturer’s Day event, attended by 7th grade students from Knox, North Judson and Oregon-Davis schools last week.

New Science Club Excites Entire Knox Elementary

Knox Elementary School has a new science club program. Members meet once every seven school days with science teacher Marge Wood. Students get to visit the outdoor lab and see different forms of wildlife in the area. A pond with minnows and frogs is also part of the lab. Approximately 120 kids have signed up to be in the club. Principal Glenn Barnes says the students are really getting into the program.

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Kindergarten Countdown Benefits 20 Students

Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown

Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown. Photo provided.

The Kindergarten Countdown program held at the Knox Elementary School in June was a success this year.

Twenty children received an early education before they enter Kindergarten this fall. Students who attend preschool often obtain better scores on tests, have better social skills and are more understanding of routines than those who do not attend a preschool program.

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Knox School Board Approves Administrative Changes

Back to school season is upon us.

Teachers are prepping their lessons and classrooms for their incoming students, students are choosing new school ensembles as well as the best supplies to buy and administrators are settling in to their new positions. The Knox Community School Corporation has shuffled around their principals and added on a new member.

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Knox Elementary Hosting Kindergarten Countdown

Knox Elementary School is once again offering a three-week Kindergarten Countdown to help students who have little or no preschool experience get ready to start school in the fall. Curriculum director Peggy Shidaker says it gives youngsters an idea of what to expect.
“They experience the type of class atmosphere and learning that actually happens or will happen when they enter kindergarten. They have an opportunity to ride a school bus, which the kids absolutely love. They’ll eat breakfast with their peers, and they’ll eat lunch with them as well. Since it is actually kindergarten readiness, the students will be immersed in those literacy and math skills to help those students enter kindergarten at the same academic levels as their peers, or at least close to the same academic levels as their peers who have had some preschool.” Continue reading

Starke County Youth Club Prepares for Annual WKVI Radiothon

Starke County Youth Club members and volunteers will take over the WKVI airwaves on Friday to raise money for the nonprofit organization. Executive Director Irene Szakonyi says they provide academic support to 600 youngsters across the county at after-school sites at Knox, North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Elementary schools and at O-D Junior/Senior High School. They give students quiet time to do homework, offer one-on-one tutoring in a specific subject and offer a variety of enrichment programs like technology classes, videography and world travel through culture centers. Services are offered each Monday through Friday for three hours after school.

“That is the time when kids are most likely to be the victims of or perpetrators of violent crime. We know that kids who don’t have proper supervision, who don’t have great role models, who aren’t engaged in something productive, make the wrong choices in their lives. So we’re there to provide a safe, engaging and positive environment for kids once the school day ends,” Szakonyi says. Continue reading

State Education Officials Urges Schools To Try Referendums Again

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz says school districts will have to continue to conduct referendums to seek tax increases until the Indiana Legislature changes the school funding formula. She made the comments during several stops in Lake and Porter Counties. Ritz told educators at the Hammond Area Career Center that “you have to spend money to get money.” She thinks that many voters in areas where school district referendums failed may not have been aware of the issue. The state school superintendent says she encourages the school districts whose referendums did not pass, to try again during the next election. Knox was one such school. Local voters rejected a property tax increase to pay for construction of a new $16 million elementary school wing. The Knox Community School Board has not indicated whether they plan to pursue the issue again during next year’s regular election cycle. In the meantime, Ritz says she will help the schools in any way she can. Ritz addressed members of the Professional Educators Partnership at Valparaiso University.

Spring Stampede Held at Knox Elementary School

It was a beautiful day to be outside and the students from the JESSE Corporation and severe and profound special needs classes enjoyed participating in outdoor activities in a great event at the Knox Elementary School yesterday.

Knox teacher Jenny Fletcher said over 80 students from Argos, Plymouth, LaVille, John Glenn and Knox, plus two preschool classes that have students with special needs participated in the Spring Stampede.

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Voters Head to the Polls Today to Vote on Palmer Wing Project

Vote yes or vote no? The Knox Elementary School Palmer Wing project is now in the hands of the voters as taxpayers in the Knox school district head to the polls today. Voters will decide whether or not to finance through property taxes the construction of a new wing and the demolition of the old Palmer Wing, which Superintendent A.J. Gappa said is antiquated, dilapidated, and overall unfit for education.

Gappa said the wing was originally built nearly 60 years ago – a different time, he said, when electricity wasn’t as advanced, heating and cooling was much less effective, and fewer kids ate in the cafeteria. He said 20 years ago when the west wing of the school was added, California and Washington township schools were closed, bringing more students to the Knox school and putting more strain on the old cafeteria.

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School Referendum Supporters and Foes Make Final Push

Voters who reside in the Knox Community School Corporation have until noon to cast absentee ballots at the courthouse in advance of tomorrow’s referendum. The outcome will determine whether a new wing will be added to the elementary school to replace the 50-year-old Palmer wing. Whatever It Takes Committee Chairman David Bullock says the school isn’t asking for very much money.

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Absentee Voting Available Today at Starke County Courthouse

Absentee voting is available in the Starke County Courthouse today from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m.

Voters in the Knox Community School District are examining a referendum question on the ballot that asks permission to move forward with a construction project at the Palmer Wing of the Knox Elementary School.

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Undecided Voters Tour Knox Elementary’s Palmer Wing

Members of the Whatever It Takes Committee hope to persuade undecided Knox Community School Corporation voters to support a property tax referendum to address problems with the school’s 60-year-old Palmer wing. Issues include an outdated heating and cooling system for which parts are no longer available, an electrical system that is inadequate to handle the load put on it by computers and other techonology and a cafeteria that’s too small to prepare food for the entire student body. They’ve held a series of open houses at the school so voters can see the problems for themselves. One lady, Gail, remains undecided. She says she wants to make sure school officials are prudent stewards of taxpayer money.

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Library Work Crew Hits Gas Main, Knox Elementary School Evacuated

Knox Elementary School has been evacuated after a construction crew at the Henry F. Schricker Public Library struck a gas main. Knox Superintendent A.J. Gappa says students at the elementary school have been moved to other facilities. Students in grades kindergarten, 1 and 2 are at the high school, while students in grades 3, 4 and 5 are at the middle school. Gappa stresses the school was evacuated as a precautionary measure and says he will advise parents as to student pickup arrangements by the end of the day. The Starke County Public Library Henry F. Schricker branch is also closed as a result of the gas main break.

Voter Turnout Steady for Starke County Special Election

A steady flow of voters have already cast ballots in the upcoming May 7 special election.

Absentee voting started last week at the Starke County Courthouse for the May 7 question involving whether taxes should be raised in order to fund construction at Knox Elementary School. As of Monday morning, 66 people have voted in person, according to officials with the Starke County Clerk’s office. Many of those voters are older and don’t want to worry about getting out on Election Day, but you don’t need any special reason to cast an early ballot. Absentee voting continues each weekday at the courthouse through noon on Monday, May 6.

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Knox Voters Encouraged to Tour Elementary School’s Palmer Wing

Voters in California, Center and Washington Townships can get a firsthand look at what advocates say are long overdue and necessary repairs to the Palmer wing at Knox Elementary School this evening. The Whatever it Takes Committee is hosting another open house at the school from 5 until 6 p.m. Problems with the 60-year-old original structure include an antiquated heating and cooling system, a cramped cafeteria that is insufficient to prepare food for the entire student population and a host of other problems. The work will only be done if voters agree to support a property tax during a May 7th special election, for which absentee voting is under way at the Starke County Courthouse. Click to determine how much your property taxes will go up should the referendum pass.