Originally listed as an action item on the evening’s agenda, consideration of the possible scheduling change was altered to a “discussion only” topic upon a recommendation from District Superintendent Dr. Craig Cummins at the outset of the meeting.
After addressing a number of regular business items, board members opened the floor for public comments and quickly learned that the administration’s proposed shift to a seven class period school day has sparked a wave of apprehension and concern.
Board members were told how the proposed change would significantly increase the number of students in future classes, shorten class time and lessen the amount of time available for personal interaction between students and their teachers.
Speakers also expressed concern about how the potential move might interfere with teachers’ ability to properly assist students with special needs and how the increased workload would be disruptive and possibly detrimental to the quality of education provided at HSHS.
Following public comment, Superintendent Cummins shared his appreciation for the speakers’ input and said that many of the concerns and ideas expressed would be taken into consideration before any decision would be made.
Dr. Cummins noted that one of the district’s primary goals is the pursuit of continuous improvement through “data driven” decision making.
Cummins then outlined how the district’s fund balance has decreased by approximately $400,000 over the past two years. He said this was primarily due to a steady decline in student enrollment figures, but that recent low facility grades and district-wide test-scores also factor into the decline of available funding.
Emphasizing that the administration was sensitive to the difficulties a schedule change could pose for HSHS, and sharing a personal empathy for the emotional concerns expressed during public comment, Assistant Superintendent Loren Cushman explained how district efforts were being driven by facts and data collected over the past several years.
He said the district in