When that stays under the New York State tax cap, Port Jefferson School District had to come up with ways to shave money off the bottom line. The biggest money saver, according to a presentation by Assistant Superintendent for Business Sean Leister, came from taking away one period from the school day for High School and Middle School students going from 10 periods to nine. The plan will save the district $600,000.
When first proposed, the idea met with resistance from parents who said decreasing classes will cause conflicts in scheduling for students.
Bossert has previously stressed that the change doesn’t eliminate any classes or programs but it does limit flexibility with students to pick their first and second choices when making their schedules.
“We’re learning we will have classes with higher enrollment,” Bossert said at the March school board meeting.
The known impact, he said, was in savings and losing flexibility but at the time he said it was impossible to tell how individual students will be affected.
The savings will have to come from somewhere.
“To be blunt,” said Bossert during the meeting. “It’s in staffing.”
Approximately five full-time positions will be eliminated when going from a 10-period to a nine-period day.
Bossert also confirmed that about four elementary school positions are planned to be cut in the adopted budget. Realigning the elementary school is proposed to save the district $450,000.
Even though there is one less class period, the school day will be just as long.
"The school day will remain 7 hours and 5 minutes," Bossert said in an email. "Each period will be longer."
Now that scheduling for next school year is under way, Bossert announced during the April school board meeting that he thinks much of the concern he had over students struggling to create the schedule of classes they needed has been alleviated. Letters were sent home to parents showing the student requests versus the courses they were given.
The Superintendent said that the majority of students (95 percent or better) have received the courses that they requested. He also said scheduling has been done ahead of time, congratulating , the outgoing Port Jefferson - principal, for getting the job done.
Bossert said it was important to get the letters out to parents so they can see the effects the change will have on students before the next budget presentation scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Port Jefferson High School Auditorium.