Teaching

Shallow Pockets, Shorter Day

By Catherine Gewertz — June 05, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
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.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Creating Confident Readers: Why Differentiated Instruction is Equitable Instruction
Join us as we break down how differentiated instruction can advance your school’s literacy and equity goals.
Content provided by Lexia Learning
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.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning

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 Opinion Better Classroom Management Can't Wait. How to Make Changes Now
The three “truths” about managing student behavior that every teacher should unlearn today.
Andrew Kwok
4 min read
A grid of classroom elements with lines flowing in and out of the segments.
iStock/Getty Images + Education Week
Teaching Opinion 4 Instructional Strategies Teachers Can Count On
Students can understand more challenging concepts when they have multiple opportunities to see how the content relates to other standards.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Teaching Opinion 4 Ways to Use Student Curiosity to Deepen Learning
These intentional shifts in the classroom can help teachers foster engagement and inquiry, writes a learning specialist.
Ben Talsma
4 min read
Kid Characters Observe Sky with Moon, Milky Way and Reach for the stars!
iStock/Getty Images
Teaching Opinion 5 Simple Tips for Making an Outsized Impact on Students
There are a few things you can do at the start of a lesson to build student trust.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty