Orion High School

Orion High School, Orion, Illinois

WHAT WE KNOW: The Orion school district went to alternate attendance days on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays this school year with Tuesdays and Thursdays reserved for deep cleaning.

WHAT'S NEW: High school principal Nathan DeBaillie sought board approval Wednesday to open up three large rooms at the high school only on Tuesdays and Thursdays to offer students structure and take away the distractions they find at home. He said one-third of the student body or 109 students now have at least one failing grade, and he's sent out "senior failure letters" in September rather than waiting until February as is typical. He expressed concern about the graduation rate and also said if lots of students, for example, repeat math classes next year, they'll end up with "class sections that are really unpredictable." Attendance would be voluntary. Board member Brandon Cooper expressed concern about the health risk. "I just have a feeling people are going to choose it just to choose it and they're going to take advantage of it." With most of the board approving, DeBaillie said he planned to start the Tuesday/Thursday schedule on Sept. 29.

WHAT'S NEXT: The board set a town hall meeting on the district's financial picture and e-learning feedback for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. November 5. Kendall King of King's Financial will be invited back to discuss the future of bonds. King told board members Wednesday that the district has $900,000 in outstanding bonds callable this December for which the current interest rate is 4.35 percent, and the district can save $100,000 by refinancing that rate in the one's. He said if the bonding capacity was maxed out for 20 years without raising the current tax rate, the district could borrow an additional $12.75 million.

— LISA HAMMER/rlhammer15@gmail.com

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