School board discusses school day change

Allison Neal, Co-Editor

The MCCSC school board held a work session last night to discuss the school day start times for next year. The board has commissioned extensive research on this topic, and Tim Pritchett, MCCSC’s public relations and information officer, presented 10 possible scenarios for the new school day.To see these scenarios and offer your feedback, look here.

The scenarios were drafted to conform with state education standards, transportation costs and community concerns. These concerns include: keeping elementary students from waiting for the bus in the dark, shortening their day and starting secondary school later for as recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics.

Pritchett said he and the committee assigned to consider this issue looked to other Indiana school systems to solve this problem.

“We can turn to our neighbors and find out how they have cracked the code on how to do this,” he said.

The scenarios range from starting secondary school later and eliminating Wednesday late start to multi-tiered systems of start times and removing teacher PLC time from the regular day. Pritchett said that none of these scenarios have been agreed upon.

“This is intended to unveil it and open the gates,” he said.

“Of course you have to realize in every corporation you have to look at transportation. We have to be cost effective in that,” Superintendent Judith DeMuth said.

According to Demuth, each additional bus costs approximately $90 – 100,000 a year to add to the system.

Board member Lois Sabo – Skelton cautioned the return to a school day similar to the 2011 day (8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. for high schools), before the switch.

“We have had consistent improvement in everything we do and I don’t want to lose that,” she said. “But I hear what parents are saying.”

DeMuth commended the extra instructional time the longer day has allowed (Panther Plus at South.) “We’re moving in a very positive direction as a result of that time,” she said.

The next board meeting will be held Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Administration building.