West Grand officials nix ‘Friday school’
West Grand School District officials hope to save $42,000 by discontinuing “Friday school.”The lack of participation in Friday remedial and enrichment programs over the past few years was the reason for a unanimous district vote to discontinue supporting them out of the district’s budget. For West Grand President Larry Banman, the decision was necessary – but hard to swallow. Banman was a member of the board that made the decision in 2005 to move from a five-day school week to a four-day regular school week with optional enrichment classes held on Fridays. That decision centered on improving student achievement and was not made for financial reasons, Banman said.But since its implementation, attendance every year has declined and the expense of employing teachers to cover Fridays has not.The district’s pool of 42 teachers rotates to cover Friday school. Typically, Friday school comprises two teachers in elementary, two teachers in the middle school and two teachers in the high school as well as two paraprofessionals for each school level. Students and teachers use the time for tutoring and make-up work, or skiing and swimming trips.Numbers have dwindled to six to eight students from each of the schools on an average Friday, according to District Superintendent Kevin Chalfant.Board member Brendan Gale stated that Friday school has become more of a babysitting service than an enrichment program. And district bus service on Fridays has been in operation for about three students. “It’s run it’s course; it’s not longer effective,” Banman said.From a recent district survey sent to parents, district staff members and community members, officials of the school district learned that 92 percent of 105 respondents said they were willing to have Friday School discontinued. And 97 percent of those same pollsters said they would be willing to pay for optional programs held on Fridays, like swimming, skiing, M&M club, field trips and outdoor education. Student interest and participation fees would need to factor into an administrative approval before programs are made part of Friday offerings based at the school, according to Chalfant.- Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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