Opening of Northridge school another victory in Memorial Day tornado recovery

The countdown from summer to the start of another school year was different this year for students attending Northridge schools.

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That's what the aftermath of a tornado -- in this case, one of the 15 that hit the area on Memorial Day -- will do. They force the reshuffling of tasks and schedules.

Northridge students returned to classes Monday, a month later than last year, this time to a new $55 million building on the hill overlooking North Dixie Drive. That's a departure from the multiple school buildings spread around the community.

The district had planned to start in September to give contractors time to finish the new building. Then the Memorial Day tornado hit the township but missed the new school. It caused disruptions to electrical and other services that caused the reshuffling of opening day.

Floyd Mills' family owns two businesses and six homes in Harrison Twp. He spent nearly every minute cleaning up from the twister.

"I never took a day off work," he told News Center 7's Sean Cudahy on Monday.

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The best part of mending time lost to the tornado was the reunion between his children and their friends who had to leave after the storm. They lived down the street.

Superintendent Dave Jackson said enrollment in the district of about 1,500 appears to be down by about 50 students because of the tornado-forced displacements. He told the Dayton Daily News he's hearing some displaced students who started the year in other districts plan to transfer back once Northridge starts classes.

Northridge’s school year is scheduled to continue through June 12.

Students will be in class 165 days — several less than were planned last year. Jackson said all grades will meet the state’s minimum number of hours of instruction, but there’s less cushion than usual, meaning a rough winter would likely lead to multiple makeup days.

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