Longer school day being considered


Starting school nine to 10 minutes earlier every day could save the debt-ridden Langley school district more than $600,000 a year, according to a report by secretary-treasurer David Green.

The report was generated in response to a suggestion at a previous school board meeting by Trustee Rob McFarlane, who wondered whether the district, currently paying down a $13.5 million deficit, could save money by increasing March spring break from one week to two.

According to Green, the district could trim costs somewhere between $225,000 and $639,000 if it increased spring break by five working days and added an extra day to the Remembrance Day long weekend.

Because the province requires schools to provide a minimum number of hours of instructional time in a year, the six additional days off would have to be made up by adding nine to 10 minutes to each school day.

If teachers and support staff were not paid for those minutes, the savings would be at the higher end of the two amounts, Green estimated.

He added that studies have shown there is no “significant learning loss” when a school system increases spring break from one to two weeks.

Some districts that made the change even reported that staff come back more refreshed from a two-week break and are less likely to take sick days, the Green report said.

School trustees were expected to approve the first step toward a longer school day at last night’s (Tuesday, March 8) evening meeting, when they were scheduled to vote whether to begin a process of consultation with parents, residents and staff.