The Comox Valley school board has approved an alternate instruction week calendar that translates into a 4.6 day week. Starting September, students will continue to attend school full-time from Monday to Thursday while Friday will be a shortened day.
"How short is what we're working on in terms of a final schedule," SD71 acting superintendent Tom Demeo said following a special board meeting Thursday. "Kids are still required to get their instructional minutes in."
The alternate week is a cost-savings measure that will help SD71 balance next year's budget. Demeo said savings are expected to be in the range of $1.5 - $1.7 million.
"The savings are exclusively staff-related, and will translate into potentially somewhere between 17 and 19 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers," board chair Tom Weber said. "The alternate week allows a significant portion of the teachers' prep time to be moved to the end of the day on Friday, which then does not necessitate backfill staffing for teachers during the week.
"From a student standpoint, there should not be an impact. The instructional time remains the same, other than on a Friday at elementary there will be an early dismissal."
Some parents have expressed concern about added day care expenses and having to leave work early to tend to their children.
"When you look at it, it's not that much time for the elementary," Demeo said.
Weber notes SD71 still needs to find another $800,000-plus in savings.
Details about the alternate instruction week calendar are expected to be finalized early next week.