School district gets first look at proposed cuts

Four day school week in St. Lucie County?

Would you be OK sending your kids to school just four days a week?

 

It's one of the options being considered in St. Lucie County as they battle a looming budget deficit.

 

Tuesday night, the St. Lucie County school board is getting its first look at proposed budget cuts to plug a projected 17 million dollar hole. The one that could save the most money is also the one getting the most publicity. 

 

St. Lucie County school district spokeswoman Janice Karst, says it has come to this, trying to find cost savings that inevitably will be painful to someone.

 

One idea is for a 4-day school week by lengthening the day and saving money on transportation.

 

"Transportation is the second largest expense besides people that you have. What are the ways in which we could immediately see a savings and that would be a 20% savings because those busses won't roll," said Karst.

 

Classroom Teachers Association Vice President Vicki Rodriguez says it's hard to predict how a 4-day week would impact them without seeing the plan in detail, but she doesn't know if it would fly.

 

"Never came to fruition in any of the districts in the state where they've thrown that out there," said Rodriguez.

 

Four day school weeks were discussed in Marion and Pasco counties last year, but were never enacted.

 

Parents didn't seem too keen on the idea.

 

 "We need them in five days. And what about the parents who have to work?" asked Sherine Robinson of Port St. Lucie.

 

 "It's crazy.  They're not going to learn as much in four days as they do in five and you're going to try and cram more information into five, said Kelly Howell.

 

At the beginning of public comments at Tuesday's board meeting, three students from F.K. Sweet Elementary, a magnet school in Fort Pierce,  asked the board not to take their magnet status away.  There has been talk of consolidating F.K. Sweet and Fairlawn Elementary's magnet programs.

 

Outside Fairlawn at pickup Tuesday, Jessica Lincoln held a sign asking for parents to support Fairlawn. Her five kids all went to Fairlawn.

 

"They've done everything they've been asked to do and at one of the schools the kids won't be rewarded, they'll be punished, said Lincoln.

 

This is just the beginning of the workshop process, but ultimately a decision will have to be made by next budget year which begins July 1.

 

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