Parents react to shorter school year considered by schools, teachers union

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Negotiations are going on right now that could shorten the Wichita school year to save some money. Parents are reacting to how this change could effect them.

In a conference room in the Alvin Morris Adminstrative building downtown,representatives of USD 259 and of the United Teachers of Wichita, the local teachers union, met Wednesday night to discuss a proposal that that would shorten the school year.

In the proposal, the school year would be shortened 15 days. In the cuts schools would include a full week off for Thanksgiving, start a week later, and end a week earlier. In exchange for the short year, the school day would extend 30 minutes. Dianna Sessums, who has a grand-daughter at Hadley Elementary thinks the plan could work.

"I don't see a problem, a lot of people might like it better, because they would off, you know have more time to get off from their jobs. I think it might be better," says Sessums.

This shift in days and time could save USD 259 an estimated $3 million. One parent of a Hadley elementary student is concerned about how the proposed change could impact them.

"Extending a day or shortening a week, or shortening a school year, you have to understand the ramifications, is going to expand and ripple out to everybody else," says Gary Stockwell.

The proposed changes would not affect teacher salaries. However, it would impact non-contract employees such as para-professionals. Susan Arensman with Wichita Schools think it is a viable option to save money.

"That's one of things we are trying to look at that would probably have the least impact, on teachers, and on jobs is to try to do that as one way to save money," said Arensman.

There will not be an immediate decision based on Wednesday night's negotiations. The school board does have until August to finalize the budget