Daniel Boone School Board extends school calendar to make up for snow days

Birdsboro Elementary Center, built in 1989, is scheduled to close permanently in June.
Birdsboro Elementary Center, built in 1989, is scheduled to close permanently in June. Digital First Media File Photo

Despite the never-ending snow this winter, classes in the Daniel Boone Area School District for kindergarten through 11th grade will conclude on Tuesday, June 12.

Seniors will graduate June 8 if the Pennsylvania Department of Education approves the district’s Act 80 request.

According to education department, Act 80 authorizes the Secretary of Education to grant an exception to the 180-day requirement for instructional days in a school year.

Assistant Superintendent Robert Hurley said at the board’s April 9 Committee of the Whole meeting that the district is requesting that the education department recognize three in-service days (Aug. 22, Oct. 9-10) as instructional days.

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“Act 80 allows us to allow for the seniors to benefit from the in-service days, because they received instruction from that,” said Hurley.

Superintendent James Harris was absent from the meeting.

The board’s next budget workshop to reduce a $2.1 million budget deficit is May 3 at 6 p.m. at the district’s administrative offices.

A new but yet unknown amount will be added to the deficit just before the budget workshop.

In other business, James R. Thompson, of Thompson Associates Architects and Planners, Harrisburg, said he will provide before May 3, the range of masonry repair costs for Birdsboro Elementary Center.

In lieu of spending $69,473 to study Birdsboro Elementary Center’s capital needs and determine future repair costs, the board approved 5-4 on Jan. 22 to not exceed $30,000 to study the building’s masonry for future repair costs.

“Hot to cold cycles are pulling on the [building’s] steel and pulling the masonry apart,” said Thompson.

The masonry has been evaluated by The Witmer Group, Mount Joy, Lancaster County.

Thompson said Witmer has identified seven areas in the building that need repair.

In all of the areas, he said the building’s expansion joints are failing and rain water leaks into the brick.

“There is no way for the water to get out,” said Thompson.

“Every time the building tries to move, it tugs and cracks. The joints are failing. All sealant joints need to be replaced; they are all too old. The flashing has punctures and tears and no longer has [structural] integrity.”

“Wherever the water hits the steel beams, it rusts. What we’re finding is the brick ties to the concrete block are all rusting, and the long term health of the ties is at risk.”

“Mortar joints need to be repointed or replaced.”

He said Witmer is meeting with a structural engineer to determine repair costs.

“There is a fix for all of the problems -- some may be costly but possible to fix,” said Thompson.

Board member Michael Wolfe asked if any of the deficient issues are the result of the building’s age.

Birdsboro Elementary Center was built in 1989.

“[Construction] standards have changed,” said Thompson, adding, “We don’t now put expansion joints beside windows.”

“The contractor did poor work.”

Thompson said he and the board should look at the short and long term solutions for Birdsboro Elementary Center.

“May focus on stacked windows and flashing, and moving the expansion joints -- get vertical joints where we want them first.”

“A separate issue is getting fresh air in the building with a dedicated system.”

“I will bring the range of issues to you in May.”

The consequences of doing nothing?

Thompson said the building won’t fall down, but the masonry cracks each time it freezes.

“The building will continue to deteriorate. We identified this problem two years ago. Those kindergarten rooms have been closed off, but now issues at other places.”

The district is in its final phase of the elementary reconfiguration plan.

Birdsboro Elementary Center will close in June after its final students have graduated from the fifth grade.