Niles schools see gain in enrollment

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles High School could be moving up a class next year. Superintendent Doug Law said the district traditionally experiences a drop in enrollment of about 50 students between September and February. But this year, the district gained five students, Law said.
One possible reason is there are less people moving out of the Niles area, Law said. Because the district's count increased, Law said it is possible that the high school could move up to class A next year. The move would change the size of the schools Niles would face in post-season athletic competition, Law said.
Representatives from the Professional Health Careers Academy were also on hand Monday night to present the board with a plaque.
PHCA is a partnership between Lakeland Regional Health System and the Berrien County Intermediate School District and the program was recently named one of the top Career Technical programs in the state.
The board also approved a $5,000 donation from the Howard/Ellis Parent Teacher Organization to the school's library. The funds will be used to purchase new Accelerated Reader books and materials, as well as videos for curriculum, die cuts and computer software. The donation was more than $2,000 and therefore, had to be approved by the board.
The expulsions of four students for violations of the code of conduct were also approved Monday night.
The board also went into closed session to discuss teacher negotiations.
The district's bond proposal was not a scheduled topic for the Monday night meeting. But, Law said on Friday, he expects to be contacted this week about the Eastgate Shopping Center property.
The district is currently waiting for a response from Federal Aviation Administration that will come through the Michigan Department of Transportation. Law said the issue is with the property's location next to the airport.
Officials with the FAA and MDOT have told Law the concern lies with the position of the beginning of the runway, which the agencies said is generally the loudest and most dangerous part. If the runway is too close to construct on the Eastgate location, the district may not be able to put a high school on the property, Law said.
If MDOT OK's the location, the district could make an offer on the Eastgate property shortly after, Law said.
The owners of the property, Moorpark Associate LLC, have told the district they are not interested in selling the property but are willing to listen to potential offers.
There is a concern that the district may not have a definite location for a new high school by the time of the Feb. 28 bond proposal election, Law said.