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Elementary school starting times altered to save money

Elementary school starting times altered to save money

A plan to save up to $250,000 by delaying the start of elementary school by nearly half an hour was

A plan to save up to $250,000 by delaying the start of elementary school by nearly half an hour was unanimously approved Monday by the Gloversville Board of Education.

The later starting time — from 8:30 to 8:55 a.m. — is designed to eliminate extra buses on the local routes and free some buses and drivers to travel to the Albany area with special education students. The Albany routes have been contracted out to private bus companies at considerable expense, school officials said.

Board President Perry Paul said the plan may save up to $250,000 in 2008-09.

Superintendent Robert DeLilli said the 25-minute adjustment will “spell relief for the taxpayers” through more efficient use of the staff and vehicles.

Teacher and parent Jackie Davies said that with a fifth-grader and a high school student, the new schedule will force her to scramble for child care. She said the four weeks of notice given district parents is not sufficient to accommodate family scheduling changes, and she asked the board to delay implementation for another year.

Pam Sproule said the community is being given “short notice” for the change and said it will be a problem for parents working out of town.

Board member Lynn Brown said that while the change will be difficult for some families, she said costs continue to escalate and the district must use its resources more efficiently.

Paul, calling the new plan “one of the toughest decisions” made recently by the board, said it is an instance where the interests of the taxpayers and the students cross paths.

“I’d rather be saving money for the district like this,” than by cutting librarians and seventh-grade sports, said board Vice President Peter Semione.

In other business Monday, middle school Vice Principal James Christopher and his high school counterpart, Mark Batty, discussed their disciplinary programs, which Christopher said must be “firm, fair and consistent.”

The program uses various levels of detention, parental involvement and — in some instances counseling — to encourage desired behavior.

Batty proposed reducing out of school suspensions where possible by requiring suspended students to attend late afternoon detention from 3 to 5 p.m. Batty said returning the students to the school environment facilitates quicker transitions and more effective management of individual problems.

Batty also proposes reorganization of the existing in-school suspension program, which places offending students in a room away from the mainstream school population.

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