Shortened instruction week a serious issue

Dear editor,

In addition to the proposed school closure, another proposal has been tabled with our local school board and it is under serious consideration as a cost saving measure. It is called an “alternative instructional week”…which has been proposed to our school as a 4.6 day school week. Children would attend school Monday-Thursday from 8:35 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:35 a.m. to noon, with no instruction on the Friday afternoon.

PLC days would fall on the Friday, and it is likely that the Pro D-Days would still fall during the Monday-Thursday full day week. Spring break would be one week as opposed to the current two. The work load at the secondary level, by students and teachers, would increase dramatically. District wide, 18-20 teachers would be laid off, teachers’ prep time would be moved to Friday, and we’d likely see a decrease in resources and support staff that our struggling learners depend on.

I’m curious as to why this alternate school week has not garnered more media or parental attention. Should we not be outraged that our children are asked to accept less and parents are asked to do more? There aren’t enough childcare spots or groups in this Valley to accommodate children who will require care from 12-5 p.m. on Friday afternoons. Are parents expected to leave work early on Fridays? Will you need to use up your vacation time and sick days? Do you have extra money laying around to pay for more or extra childcare? I doubt it, but that’s what’s going to happen if this new cost saving measure is passed at the school board’s April meeting.

I have some reservations with this “new” plan and I’m feeling frustrated with the lack of parental consultation, the lack of media coverage, the lack of transparency the school board has shown, the lack of leadership shown by our locally elected officials, the speed at which decisions are being made with little or no consultation, and the inevitable impact this will have on children and families.

Brooke Finlayson

Comox

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