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Process to lengthen school day begins

 

Parents, students and staff in Langley will be able to use the Internet to respond to a proposal that would trim six days from the district school calendar in a bid to save money.

Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to begin a process of consultation with parents, residents and staff that will include an online survey to get feedback on the district website.

People will have 31 days to weigh in on the proposal, before it goes before an April 19 board meeting for approval.

The eliminated school days would be made up by starting the school day nine to 10 minutes earlier, a measure that could save the debt-ridden Langley school district more than $600,000 a year, secretary-treasurer David Green estimates.

According to Green, the district could trim costs somewhere between $225,000 and $639,000 if it increased March spring break from one week to two and added an extra day to the Remembrance Day long weekend.

Because the province requires schools to provide a minimum number of hours of instructional time in a year, the six additional days off would have to be made up by adding nine to 10 minutes to each school day.

If teachers and support staff are not paid for those minutes, the savings would be at the higher end of the two amounts, according to Green.

School trustees also approved separate calendar consultations for the Douglas Park Elementary and Langley Fine Arts schools, which already operate nonstandard class schedules.

Langley Fine Arts has a shorter school year with slightly longer school days, similar to the proposal being considered for all schools in the district, while Douglas Park operates a year-round “balanced calendar schedule” that reduces summer vacation from the usual six weeks to three, adding one-week breaks throughout the rest of the school year.

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