Cost and Benefits of Extending Elementary School Day - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Cost and Benefits of Extending Elementary School Day

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Can you really put a price on a good education? Unfortunately, that's a realistic question for Bay District School leaders. They're contemplating a longer school day for some or all elementary students, but extending class hours comes at a cost.

"We know that additional time in instruction is good for kids, but not only does the time have to be there, quality instruction has to occur," Denise Kelley, Director of Elementary Instruction, said.

Kelley said Springfield Elementary School is proof that a longer school day and quality instruction pay off. The Title I school added an extra hour to the day last school year, which helped teachers and students bring the school grade up from a "D" to a "C" and earn a "Highly Effective" rating.

"A great majority of their students don't come in with everything they need, and it's the school's job to catch them up. It simply seems logical that if your journey is longer, sometimes you need more time to get to your destination," Board Member Ginger Littleton said.

If officials extended every elementary school's day by one hour, it would cost $5,081,139 to pay teachers plus benefits. For 15 Title I schools, it would cost $3,335,374.80. That does not include compensating support staff.

"For me, student performance is the top priority," Littleton said. "We'll have to look at all elements, and I'm sure there will be consequences, some very good, some perhaps will need to sacrifice."

Littleton said funding is the issue. If they move forward, board members will have to look closely at the budget and likely make cuts to other programs.

"The staff in this district is well capable of looking at the trade-offs and determining either the course of action, which is the extra hour in the school day, or some compromise in that course," Littleton said.

News 13 wants to hear your opinion on whether Bay District School leaders should extend the school day. Cast your vote in our Voice of the Viewer poll.

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