Walton County just adopted a 160-day calendar for next year, adding 20 minutes to each school day to make up the missing 20 days. The county blamed state cuts of $7 million for the drastic measure.
School will start August 16. There will be a three week winter break. School will end May 20.
A teacher from Walton told me, “Our teachers seem to be on board with the idea and there has been effort on the part of administrators for several months now to keep teachers in the loop so that there will be buy in on this. The BOE has been very committed to doing what they can to save taxpayer money and to save jobs without making the students suffer academically.”
The system will focus on bell to bell instruction and do away with many field trips, but I still think there will be a learning loss when you chop off 20 days. Do you think adding the 2o minutes a day mitigates the shorter school year?
According to the county Web site:
The modification will reduce the number of days students are in school from 180 to 160. The number of hours of instruction will still be more than required by the state because the school day will be extended by an additional 20 minutes of instruction.
In making these budget reductions three goals have been set. These goals are:
-The reductions would have as little impact on our quality of instruction as possible.
-We would protect the employment status of our employees to the greatest extent possible.
-We would spread reductions in expenditures across schools, programs, and employees as fairly and equitably as possible.
-The shorter school year is being considered because it will significantly reduce school operating costs. Most of the savings will be generated, because schools will operate for twenty fewer days. Savings for diesel fuel alone would be approximately $52,000.
-Other savings would relate to utility costs. August is the most expensive month for utilities and is also a month utility companies use when establishing rates for the entire year. In the past, extreme heat in August has also caused student safety concerns, and beginning school later in August would alleviate those concerns.