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Change to six-period day delayed one year

The proposal to change high schools next year from four-period days over semesters to six-period days over trimesters won't go into effect next year as recommended by the High School Re-Design Task Force.

Facing a full house of Woodbury High School students who oppose the change, the vote was 4-3 with board members Jim Gelbmann, Ellen Ayers, Tracy Brunnette and Denise Kapler in favor of putting off the changeover for one year and board members Marsha Adou, Leslee Boyd and board chair Ron Kath opposed.

However, board members voting in favor of the delay said they would not oppose the change going into effect in 2010-2011.

The delay could add up to $1 million to next year's budget if a proposed eight-period day, recommended by a middle school task force, is approved by the board when grade configurations change next year to middle schools with grades six, seven and eight.

Board members and administrators have said for the past month of discussions that changing class hours is based on the best way to educate students but last week's decision has budget implications.

The proposed middle-school schedule, with individual teacher preparation time plus time to meet with other teachers to discuss student progress is more expensive than the junior-high model.

Changing high schools, that will add ninth-graders next year, would offset the cost increase in the middle-school plan.

Superintendent Tom Nelson said, after the Sept. 25 board meeting that the decision could add $1 million for one year.

Board member Jim Gelbmann, who led the discussion to delay the six-period plan, said after the meeting that cost-saving measures could reduce the expense to $750,000.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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