Could trimming the school schedule save money?

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Some school districts across country are saving tons of money by parking busses one day a week.

But there's one big question: What will be the impact on children?

The abridged schedule means longer school days, and teachers fear students can't concentrate.

"Kids are kids. There's only a certain amount of attention they're going to have. When you actually try to double or triple up English or math, we know that they disconnect from that," explained Randi Weingarten of American Federation of Teachers.

It's a concept that's no stranger to Alabama.  A year and a half ago, State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton shot down the idea, writing schools "must have students attend 180 days."

Lawmakers say shaving the year back to 175 days could save the state $125 million dollars.

"It's something that we need to look at.  We certainly want to try to find some options. Keep as many teachers on as possible to avoid laying them off," said Rep. Steve Clouse of Ozark.

While some local school systems support the idea, others think it's a matter of funding.

"On one hand it's good. We just need some more dollars in. Kids just need to be in school. They need to be learning," explained Beverly Ross, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education.

Sill, with just five days difference, politicians urge the public to keep an open mind.

"We could cut back a few days and not cause any problems," Clouse said.

Lawmakers say a bill to change the requirements back to 175 days per school year could come up this legislative session--once legislators hammer out the budget.

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