Board cuts school time

Board cuts school time

By Shelie Berg

From page 6

from the entire thing, and I still wouldn’t

miss it,” he said. Bliss added he’d rather see history, science and math classes offered in lieu of gym.

However, he is upset the chunks will affect the gifted program. “This is going to limit what they take … and that’s unfortunate,” he said.

Cardenas-Cudia grew concerned after listening to an Auburn High School student convey his feelings on how the cuts would adversely affect students’ choices.

“My biggest concern was the direct effect it would have on student achievement,” she said. “I just didn’t feel comfortable enough without really knowing how it would have an impact on student achievement. I’m really not sure.”

Caltagerone worries about students leaving class so early. “What will they be doing with themselves all afternoon?” Caltagerone said. “How is this going to impact the curricular? I don’t think it’s been completely thought out.

“We voted against cutting the number of cell phones; we voted that down. But yet we voted to cut class time. I can’t fathom it.”

The board also hashed over printing and graphic design cuts, but those measures weren’t approved. Members also decided against trimming areas the administration already approved.

The board did approve cutting back airfare for conferences. A lengthy discussion entailed not giving members dinner, but a vote against that failed. Another attempt to cut the number of cell phones failed.

Caltagerone was more concerned with reducing classes and school time. “The other cuts did not directly impact students,” Caltagerone said. “This cut does.”

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

On Feb. 14, after more than six hours of discussion, the Rockford School Board voted for an array of cuts, including decreasing school time by one hour for the six middle and four high schools.

The changes, which will save about $3.2 million, take effect in the 2001-2002 school year. Those who voted against the cuts were Vice President Patti Delugas, member Stephanie Caltagerone and President Gloria Cardenas-Cudia.

High school class time will occur from 7:30 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. The high school courses that would increase requirements to four credits are required art, music, foreign language or vocational education. Freshmen will need to take art, music, foreign language or vocational ed. Required PE credits will change to three credits. Graduation requirements will remain at 44.

Middle schools will be in session from 8:45 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. The middle school classes would eliminate 7B and 8B strands including communication, family consumer science, visual arts, problem solving and seminar. PE will no longer be required. The middle schools would create all-year electives such as visual arts, band, orchestra, PE, foreign language and publications.

“There are approximately 91 teaching positions that would be affected,” said Jim Jennings, director of communications. He said not all may necessarily be eliminated because about 100 teachers are planning on retiring in the next year.

Jennings commended the board’s decisions. “I think they’re doing the best they can with the very hard and difficult decisions,” he said. “Nobody wants to reduce the school day. The fact remains—we’re in a serious financial condition.” But Caltagerone refused to support the reductions because she felt she lacked sufficient information.

Caltagerone said she received no answers to questions she asked. She inquired about whether students were taking, for instance, ninth grade English and 10th grade English at the same time. She also questioned the percentage of students taking classes that they previously failed.

“No one could answer that,” Caltagerone stated. “If I knew for certain the majority of the students were making up failed courses, I would probably have voted the other way.”

Yet, Bliss said he cast his affirmative votes because “number one, we’re trying to find some cost savings, which is what we’re looking for right here. It’s also going to affect a small number of kids.”

He is pleased that PE will be optional. “As far as I’m concerned, PE can be dropped

Continued on page 7

erious financial condition.” But Caltagerone refused to support the reductions because she felt she lacked sufficient information.

Caltagerone said she received no answers to questions she asked. She inquired about whether students were taking, for instance, ninth grade English and 10th grade English at the same time. She also questioned the percentage of students taking classes that they previously failed.

“No one could answer that,” Caltagerone stated. “If I knew for certain the majority of the students were making up failed courses, I would probably have voted the other way.”

Yet, Bliss said he cast his affirmative votes because “number one, we’re trying to find some cost savings, which is what we’re looking for right here. It’s also going to affect a small number of kids.”

He is pleased that PE will be optional. “As far as I’m concerned, PE can be dropped from the entire thing, and I still wouldn’t miss it,” he said. Bliss added he’d rather see history, science and math classes offered in lieu of gym.

However, he is upset the chunks will affect the gifted program. “This is going to limit what they take … and that’s unfortunate,” he said.

Cardenas-Cudia grew concerned after listening to an Auburn High School student convey his feelings on how the cuts would adversely affect students’ choices.

“My biggest concern was the direct effect it would have on student achievement,” she said. “I just didn’t feel comfortable enough without really knowing how it would have an impact on student achievement. I’m really not sure.”

Caltagerone worries about students leaving class so early. “What will they be doing with themselves all afternoon?” Caltagerone said. “How is this going to impact the curricular? I don’t think it’s been completely thought out.

“We voted against cutting the number of cell phones; we voted that down. But yet we voted to cut class time. I can’t fathom it.”

The board also hashed over printing and graphic design cuts, but those measures weren’t approved. Members also decided against trimming areas the administration already approved.

The board did approve cutting back airfare for conferences. A lengthy discussion entailed not giving members dinner, but a vote against that failed. Another attempt to cut the number of cell phones failed.

Caltagerone was more concerned with reducing classes and school time. “The other cuts did not directly impact students,” Caltagerone said. “This cut does.”

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