acheter viagra nos partenaires
Cutting 30 minutes off school day a possibility
When the school board meets Monday evening, the members may make decisions on how the local system will cut a state-mandated 3 percent.
One of the possibilities may be reducing the school day for students by 30 minutes – 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon.
Superintendent Whit Myers said the shorter school day, by itself, will not save the county’s system money, but it would in combination with other objectives.
“Shorting the school day really does not save money, but what it does is it allow us to do some different things,” Myers said.
This idea and others have been mentioned to teachers and others affected, Myers said.
“One thing I want to compliment on is the involvement of the teachers, bus drivers and everybody,” said Lindy Sheppard, school board chair.
Board member Tom Avret said the school day length change is reasonable.
“I have always thought the class periods were too long anyway,” Avret said. “He said students’ attention is lost after 30 minutes.
“That’s Tom’s philosophy,” Avret said.
A state law passed last year allows school systems to calculate school years based on the number of school hours instead of the previous 180-day format. Because of the change Screven County would not need to apply for a waiver for the possible switch.
Teachers throughout the school system already have lost planning period time because of the reduction in teachers. Myers said the 30-minute reduction of the school day would provide more scheduling flexibility for teachers.
“We would be doing this to keep from cutting any more teachers,” Myers said of the 30-minute change. “We are modeling our policy on what Effingham County is doing.”
Some other school systems have completely done away with their substitutes.
The school board passed its $28.8 million budget for the 2009-2010 year Friday morning and then began discussions on how to manage the newest 3 percent cuts.
“Obviously, we’re going to have to do some more cuts,” Myers said to board members. “I told you early on this budget would not be worth more than the paper it is written on.”
Myers said between $430,000 and $435,000 needs to be cut.
The reduction of the number of off-campus trips could save $53,000.
Cutting summer instructional programs would save $90,000 and also save on energy costs, Myers said.
The professional learning cuts could save $4,500 and between $20,000 and $25,000 was saved from furloughs.
“We are not recommending a tax increase of any sort,” Myers said.
The board had to cut its budget by nearly $2.7 million to reach the 2009-2010 financial figures. The school district furloughed teachers on the first and second day of preplanning for the school year that began Monday. A third state-urged furlough day is scheduled for Dec. 18.
The school board also agreed to a tentative millage rate of 13 July 31. The board is scheduled to hold an Aug. 21 meeting at 7:30 a.m. meeting to officially approve the millage rate. Monday’s monthly board meeting is set for 5 p.m. at the BOE office on Halcyondale Road.
Another possible change to cut expenses includes not hiring substitutes on the first day a teacher may be absent. At the middle and high schools, other teachers would have to cover the classroom without an educator for the day. At the elementary school, paraprofessionals would need to handle the classroom assignment.
Myers said some of the teachers at the middle and high schools are not pleased with the possible substitute policy.
Other possible changes include the reduction of summer programs and re-evaluation of bus transportation routes. Cutbacks in energy costs and educator professional learning also are on the table.
Another thing, a elementary school problem, have to give teachers 30 minutes of duty-free lunch. Elementary school would dismiss at 3:15 p.m. Teachers did have lunchroom duty, but the teachers would eat lunch with their students.
“We are open to ideas. This is not a list eteched in stone,” Myers said. “The message we are trying to send is we are all in this together.
“We want to keep as many programs in tact during this economic downturn,” Myers said.
The superintendent said the enrollment numbers were down on the first day of school.
Only 2,505 students were in classrooms Monday. Screven County finished off the 2008-2009 school year with 2,700.
A total of 1,134 students were at the elementary school with only 141 in kindergarten.
SCES’s largest class was the fourth grade with 191.
There was 576 at middle school which expected 608 and 795 at high school.
Myers did point out two other school systems who are trying different cost-saving routes.
Murray County will cut 20 days off of its school year by adding 45 minutes to their school days.
Peach County will go to a four-day school week.
“It would be a while before our board would buy into that type of change,” Myers said of the two possibilities.