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Butler delays start of 2022-23 school year

Grade switch, renovations planned

BUTLER TWP — Students of the Butler Area School District will start the next school year later than usual on Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day.

Superintendent Brian White said at a Monday school board meeting that shifting ninth grade to the senior high school next school year will bring about challenges with staff and student organization that could need time to be ironed out.

The district is in the middle of a construction project adding a new wing of about 19,000 square feet to the high school, making room for a new auditorium; 10 new classrooms, including a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) space; wood shops; 3D printers; and additional technology, which is being done to accommodate the incoming ninth-grade class.

The district also plans to move all students and faculty out of Butler Middle School, and will reassign its personnel to the elementary schools. This will also bring about a lot of adjustment, White said.

“We do want to try to accomplish as much as we can over the course of the summer,” White said. “When you factor in moving the entire middle school faculty to other buildings, and the ripple effect ... we may have hundreds of teachers and paraprofessionals moving classrooms, so we wanted to build an extra day in for them to get their rooms and settle.”

The 2022-23 school year will run from Sept. 6 until June 9, as per the calendar the board approved Monday.

According to White, the school district has a memorandum of understanding with the Butler Education Association allowing the fifth- and sixth-grade teachers being moved from Butler Middle School to select by seniority which building they wanted to go to next school year.

“We do not anticipate any furloughs as a result of this” White said. “Because of one retirement and someone else changing grades, I think it's all going to work itself out that every sixth-grade teacher will be in a sixth-grade assignment.”

At the committee of the whole meeting that took place right before the school board meeting, representatives from Eckles Construction Services said the biggest supply chain issue facing the addition project is steel. The project is still underway, and White said the district will try to provide updates as they become available.

In other business, the board approved a five-year agreement contract with the district support professionals, which includes annual raises of at least 2.5% for approximately 150 support staff members.