Indiana’s State Board of Education has released A-F school grades from the 2012-2013 school year, 4 months after a grade changing scandal rocked the system. Locally, the grades are as follows:
Celestine Elementary: A (same as last year)
Northeast Dubois High School: A (same as last year)
Dubois Middle School: B (down from an ‘A’ last year)
Dubois Elementary: A (up from ‘C’ last year)
Pine Ridge: A (same as last year)
Ferdinand Elem: A (same as last year)
Forest Park High School: B (same as last year)
Cedar Crest Intermediate: A (same as last year)
Holland Elementary: A (same as last year)
Southridge Middle: A (same as last year)
Southridge High: B (same as last year)
Huntingburg Elementary: A (same as last year)
Ireland Elem: A (same as last year)
Jasper Middle: A (same as last year)
Jasper High: A (same as last year)
5th Street School: C (up from ‘D’ last year)
10th Street School: C (up from ‘D’ last year)
Chrisney Elementary: A (same as last year)
David Turnham Center: A (same as last year)
Nancy Hanks Elementary: A (same as last year)
Heritage Hills High School: A (same as last year)
Heritage Hills Middle School: A (up from ‘C’ last year)
Lincoln Trail Elementary: A (same as last year)
The grades are used to determine a range of important funding issues. The State Board of Education approved the grades at its meeting Friday morning. Now the four month long wait for the grades comes after a scandal involving former Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett. Bennett resigned as Florida schools chief in August after The Associated Press published emails showing he altered Indiana’s school grading formula to benefit Christel House.
The new grades were calculated using the Bennett model, but education leaders are developing a new formula.
No one was injured after an airplane collided with a deer while landing at the Huntingburg Airport last night.
Airport manager Travis McQueen says he was called back to the airport just before 7 pm last night when the accident took place. Officials say a privately-owned Beechcraft King Air 350 touched down on the runway when a deer ran out into its path. The propeller on the starboard (right) side of the plane hit the deer, killing it instantly.
McQueen says the airport was lucky in that the pilot kept the airplane on the runway after hitting the deer. He says the plane was still slowing down from about 115 miles per hour when it hit the deer.
The pilot is set to file a report with the Federal Aviation Administration on the incident. The FAA will then decide whether or not they will investigate the incident further. No damage estimate for the plane was given, but the plane did taxi off of the runway under its own power.
McQueen says he worked with the pilots and crew to get the deer carcass and debris off of the runway prior to the next scheduled plane landing at the airport, which was about an hour after the incident.
McQueen says this is the 2nd serious animal strike incident with an aircraft in the 14 years that he’s been at the airport. The other was back in January of 2005 when a plane hit a coyote with its landing gear.
Dubois County has regained the top spot among counties with the state’s lowest unemployment.
Earlier today the Indiana Department of Workforce Development released it’s November unemployment figures for the Hoosier state.
The department says Indiana gained 25,300 private sector jobs last month, the largest one-month increase in The Hoosier State on record.
All employment sectors saw significant growth, with the exception of the leisure and hospitality sector, which was unchanged for the month.
They say employment sectors experiencing the largest increases in hiring over the month were Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Construction, Manufacturing and Professional and Business services.
Indiana was responsible for nearly 13 percent of the nation’s private sector job growth in November.
Now locally once again Dubois County lead the way with state’s lowest unemployment mark in November at 5.2 percent, one tenth of a percent ahead of Indianapolis suburb Hamilton County.
Daviess County was fourth at five and a half percent. Knox was right behind in 5th at 5.7 percent. Martin County was also in the top 10 at 5.9 percent.
Other local counties include Pike County at 6.4 percent, Spencer at 6.7, Perry an even 7 percent. Orange 7.9 and Crawford County’s unemployment rate for November was 8.4 percent.
Fayette and Vermillion counties were tied with the state’s highest unemployment rate last month at 9.9 percent.
Indiana’s overall unemployment rate declined in November as well, dropping 2 tenths of a percent to 7.2 percent, lower than all neighboring states. Fewer Hoosiers are unemployed now than at this time five years ago.
A third local school district has heard from the state about its budget for next year.
Last night Southwest Dubois Superintendent Mike Eineman told the Southwest School Board that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has approved the Corporation’s budget for next year.
Eineman said that compared to what the corporation advertised for and what they received, the southwest district came about as close as possible to what the corporations felt was needed.
Eineman said one exception however was that the corporation received 100-thousand dollars more for a sequestration that the school district may have to pay for.
Eineman reported that the total assessed value of all properties in the district was 275-million dollars which was equal to last year. The Southwest Dubois Corporation will received around 12-million dollars for their total budget.
With this year being his first go around as superintendent Eineman says he’s pleased with the results of his first experience of putting together a school budget:
As mentioned, Southwest Dubois is the third district to hear from the state concerning its budget. School officials from the Greater Jasper Consolidated and Northeast Dubois School Corporations reported at school board meetings earlier this week that their budgets for the following year were approved as well.
Also last night the Southwest board approved the corporation’s school calendar for 2014-15.
Among some of the notable changes for next school year will be that school will end one week later than this year. For the past several years, Southwest students have ended their school year after the second full week of May, a week earlier than the county’s three other districts.
Eineman says the extra week will allow the school corporation to implement more built in snow makeup days that in the past.
This year only three snow days were included in the school calendar. All of which have already been used as a result of the snow and ice storm that hit the area two weeks ago.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Gov. Mike Pence says he expects state utility regulators will still review plans for a $2.8 billion coal-gasification plant in Rockport.
That project got a boost this week when the state supreme court approved a contract requiring the state to buy its synthetic natural gas for 30 years.
Pence said Wednesday his office was reviewing the court’s decision but that he anticipated the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission would again take up the proposal.
Mark Lubbers of Indiana Gasification says the project still needs Pence’s support to advance after legislators this year voted to seek additional reviews.
Opponents maintain the project would cost Indiana utility customers as much as $1.1 billion in higher gas rates.
Officials in Daviess County are seeking ways to cut costs for health care that is provided to inmates at the jails.
Daviess County sheriff Jerry Harbstreit says when a person is brought into the jail the county is then responsible for providing that person’s health care. He says health care is a tremendous cost for them and that it is growing.
Now the county has already taken a few steps in its efforts to reduce and control health care costs. The county is set to switch health care providers for the jail next month, as QCC will be replacing Advanced Correctional Health Care. Harbstreit says the cost of 125 thousand dollars is only slightly more than what they are currently paying and it includes mental health care that is now mandated by the state of Indiana. He says the county would be paying extra for that if they were to stay with Advanced Correctional Health Care. As part of the change, a psychiatrist will be coming to the jail once a week.
The county is looking for help through the Affordable Care Act as well. Harbstreit says the Indiana Sheriff’s Association is in the process of looking over the new law to see if people can be put onto insurance plans once they are brought to jail. He says a lot of folks who are booked into the jail don’t have insurance and the jail utilizes the benefits of those who come in that do have health insurance to care for the others.
Counties have had to get creative recently to provide health care for inmates. Though Daviess County has a 15 dollar co-pay for visits with doctors and a 5 dollar co-pay for prescriptions, they often have to get people out of the jail should they have a sudden, severe medical problem in order to save money.
In the end, Harbstreit says the county doesn’t have to and won’t cater to prisoners, but if an inmate gets sick and nothing is done about it, the county could be sued for deliberate indifference and that could prove to be a lot more expensive.
A fertilizer plant project for Spencer County is now set to move forward.
Officials with Ohio Valley Resources (based in Fairfield, IL) have announced an agreement to finance the development of a nitrogen fertilizer plant north of Rockport.
Ohio Valley Resources president Doug Wilson stated yesterday that a memorandum of understanding had been worked out between his company and Tierra Del Fuego Power and Chemical Company for the plant’s development. He says the memorandum of understanding allows for an agreement that will benefit both sides while moving the project forward.
Wilson says the location near Rockport was chosen because it is close to natural gas pipelines as well as to rail, river, and highways for movement of goods. Wilson says the plant will also produce ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate solution to be used in fertilizer as well as nitrogen fertilizer. The plant will even produce diesel exhaust fluid, which is a urea solution that will be used to reduce emissions in diesel engines.
Now Sinopec Engineering, which is a Chinese-based petrochemical firm, will work with a U.S.-based global engineering firm to complete the front-end design, procurement, and construction for the plant.
Officials say about 12 hundred workers will be needed to build the plant, a process which is expected to take 3 years. Once the plant is completed in 2017, about 80 full-time workers will be employed by the plant. The investment on this project: 1 billion dollars.