Radical change in daily schedule stirs local board

WAYNESFIELD — Waynesfield-Goshen Board of Education members discussed making a radical change to its schedule during Monday’s meeting.

Board members discussed the possibility of moving the school day to a later start of 8:20 a.m. if current legislation proposed in Ohio passes. The proposal calls for schools instructional time to be done in 1,001 hours rather than the current 180-day requirement. Students will not receive less instructional time with the requirement, but districts will have more freedom to change scheduling to meet the same amount of instructional time.

The law was pushed by tourism lobbyists with the hope many schools would start school after the Labor Day holiday.

Superintendent Chris Pfister told board members the proposal has potentially many benefits.

“There are a few negatives,” Pfister said. “There are also a lot of positives.”

Pfister told board members that study after study showed children who start school later in the day tend to have better grades and perform better on tests.

He said the move would give students more time in the morning, administrators would have a little more time before deciding on a school delay. Teachers would also have a common planning period in the morning prior to the 8:20 start.

Some of the negative aspects are scheduling conflicts for parents, scheduling changes that would have to be administered for specialty classes such as physical education and music classes, and the loss of a free period for teachers.

Another possibility discussed was keeping the 6.5 hour day and cutting the amount of days to 154.

High School Principal T.J. Winkler said he received few comments at a meeting in March, with mostly positive or neutral comments on the potential change.

“One person said their child gets on the bus at 6:45 a.m.,” Winkler said. “They thought it would be better if it could be later.”

Faculty or members of the school district have not been notified of the proposal, and the move is purely in the discussion stage at this point.

Board members discussed ways to get feedback from parents or faculty, such as a survey which could be administered in variety of ways.

In other business, the board set up various meeting dates as they prepare to go to the table with teaching staff to negotiate a contract.

The current agreement with teachers ends June 30. The board held a brief executive session to discuss meeting times and issues that might come to the table during neogtiations.