Planning time to be settled

By Bryan Richardson

The USD 383 school board will take action on its elementary school time and high school schedule discussion during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Robinson Education Center.

At the Feb. 20 board meeting, the school board expressed a desire to provide more planning and collaboration time for elementary school teachers. Currently, there are five early release days, three professional development days, no weekly collaboration time and 300 planning minutes per week.

Administrators recommend the negotiating teams and the district calendar committee increase planning and collaboration time during the next two school years.

Under that course of action, elementary teachers would have eight days of professional development, eight early releases for collaboration and 330 minutes of planning time per week next school year.

The estimated cost of the plan is $128,800, which would require a two-tenths of a mill property tax increase based on the current assessed valuation. For the owner of a $175,00 house, that translates to about $4 in additional taxes to fund the change.

The 2014-15 school year would have 60 minutes of collaboration time per week for elementary teachers in addition to the previous changes. The estimated cost of this plan is $450,000 to hire the minimum of 9.8 faculty members needed, including seven technology teachers.

The school board also concluded during its Feb. 20 meeting that the high school schedule would not change next school year. Administrators are recommending that exploration into a modified block schedule continue.

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