AUSTINTOWN Fitch tightens rule on absences

The school board awarded contracts for paving and for ceiling replacement.
AUSTINTOWN -- Students at Fitch High School who miss 16 school days without an excuse next year could be headed to class on Saturdays, according to Fitch's new student handbook.
The handbook includes a rule stating that students can miss only 16 school days during the year, or eight each semester, without an excuse. Students who miss more than 16 days could be required to attend either class on Saturday or Fitch's "I Can" after-school program.
The program lets students discuss their problems with teachers and counselors.
Previous rule: Last year's student handbook included a rule stating that students could miss 20 days during the year, or 10 days each semester, without an excuse. The new handbook was approved by the Austintown school board at its meeting Monday night.
Austintown Superintendent Richard Denamen said the board wanted to "raise the bar" for Fitch students by reducing the number of days they can miss. Tom Inchak, the director of instruction for the Austintown schools, noted that school districts are graded on unexcused absences in their state report cards.
Repaving bids: At Monday's meeting, the board also approved bids for re-paving the road around the high school. The board also approved bids to replace the ceilings in the high school cafeteria and lecture room.
The work on the roads will cost $138,500, while the new ceilings will cost $30,000. Valley Acoustics Inc., of Youngstown, will replace the ceilings. Romano Paving and Excavating Inc. of Bessemer, Pa., will re-pave the roads.
Work is expected to begin on both projects during the next two weeks. The work will be complete before school starts.

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