Preble fire could mean longer school days

GREEN BAY – With more than 2,000 students, Preble High School is the biggest in the Green Bay Area School District.

As of now, those students do not have a set school year. But a new state law could mean no more actual days added to the calendar.

Schools are no longer required to have 180 days of instruction in the school year.

“Schools need to be providing direct instruction to pupils for a certain amount of time, which, now they have to meet an hours-and-minutes requirement,” said Tom McCarthy, communication officer with Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Under the law, students in grades 7 through 12 are required to have at least 1,137 hours of direct instruction from teachers. But it’s up to the school district to decide how it will meet those requirements.

On Monday, Preble’s principal said she’s looking at all the options.

“At this time we are just working on plans to determine what that process might look like for students on their return,” said Natasha Rowell.

The lawmaker who originally proposed the change says some of those options could include making school days longer and holding classes on Saturdays.

“Depending on how many days and what their normal class hours are, they may have to go longer in the spring or shorter vacations or something like that just to get the hours and minutes in the school year,” said State Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon).

As the cleanup continues at Preble, it’s still unclear as to when teachers will be allowed in their classrooms.

“Teachers are nervous about what to expect,” said Lori Cathey.

Cathey is the President of Green Bay Education Association. She says with more than 150 teachers at Preble, they will have a lot of work to do before classes begin.

“The smoke damage was extensive and they’re going to have to throw all of their copies away as well as anything that was on bulletin boards,” Cathey said.

Preble officials say they still don’t know how much the repairs will cost.

The restoration company says its staff will double in size later this week as the cleaning process continues. The restoration company at Preble is not allowing volunteers to help but it says temporary employees are needed. The number to call to is 920-432-1600.

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