Shallow Pockets, Shorter Day

By Catherine Gewertz — June 05, 2007 1 min read

Under growing pressure to bring all students to proficiency, many districts are adding more instructional time to their school days or years. But a small district in Ohio is shortening its school day.

It’s not that the Springfield Local School District is cavalier about its students’ academic performance. It trimmed its schedule to keep from going bankrupt.

The district’s board voted last month to carve 50 minutes out of the day for 5th through 8th graders, and 20 minutes for elementary school pupils. It also decided to eliminate one elementary-level teacher position and trim its spending on curricular materials and custodial service, said the district’s treasurer, Don Gambal.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Ohio. See data on Ohio’s public school system.

The district of 2,800 students on the southeast edge of Akron made the cuts in the wake of a May 16 declaration by the state auditor that the district was in “fiscal emergency,” the worst of three state categories of district financial trouble. Of Ohio’s 612 districts, only seven others are in fiscal emergency.

A state-appointed commission was to begin meeting with local administrators last week to craft a recovery plan, said Steve L. Faulkner, a spokesman for the auditor.

The reduction in schedule was not Springfield’s first round of cuts. Last fall, the district pared busing to save money, leaving 1,000 students to find other ways to school. It also eliminated 15 teaching positions for the 2007-08 school year.

Some of the squeeze comes from the fact that local voters have rejected proposed operating levies four times in the past year. They will consider another levy in August.

If the district must do without the $1.8 million the levy would generate, its projected shortfall for fiscal 2008 would be $2.6 million in an operating budget of $30 million, according to Mr. Gambal.

The district considered eliminating its sports program, which would have saved $1.5 million, but it feared that students—who by state law can choose their school districts—would enroll elsewhere, Mr. Gambal said.

If the levy doesn’t pass, the school board faces more serious choices, such as cutting art, music, and physical education or, ultimately, consolidating with another district, Mr. Gambal said.

A version of this article appeared in the June 06, 2007 edition of Education Week


Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela
Teaching Live Online Discussion How to Develop Powerful Project-Based Learning
How do you prepare students to be engaged, active, and empowered young adults? Creating a classroom atmosphere that encourages students to pursue critical inquiry and the many skills it requires demands artful planning on the

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Understanding Learning ‘Acceleration’: Going Slow to Go Fast
Acceleration is sold as the way to fill academic holes left by less-than-ideal learning conditions last school year. But there are caveats.
4 min read
RESET SERIES 3 Illustration
Collage by Vanessa Solis/Education Week (Images: Getty)
Teaching Opinion Teaching Writing Requires Leaving Students With an 'I Can Do It!' Spirit
Three educators share suggestions for writing instruction, including a visual-thinking strategy.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Opinion Four Strategies for Effective Writing Instruction
Three educators share their best ideas on K-12 writing instruction, including writing frames and graphic organizers.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
Teaching Opinion The Best Ways to Teach Students How to Think (Not What to Think)
Show, don’t tell. Here’s how to model judgment by engaging students in authentic discussions.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.