School trustees vote to reduce number of classroom days for 2020-21
EDMONTON -- Students enrolled in Edmonton Public Schools will have an extra five days off next school year.
The previous 183-day school year will be reduced to 178.
As a result, 10 minutes will be added to each school day in order to meet the required number of instructional hours.
Board trustees voted 8 to 1 in favour of adding three professional development days and two non-instructional days to the upcoming school year.
The move comes in the wake of UCP spending cuts the board says is forcing them to look for creative ways to reduce costs.
By adding the five non-student days, school administration estimates the board will save about $2.7 million for the year.
They say eliminating the need for student transportation over those days will save $750,000, with staffing and fuel for busses costing roughly $150,000 per day.
Losing the need for supply costs such as substitute teachers and lunchtime supervision during professional development days is said will save an additional $2 million.
"This is one of the toughest decisions I think Trustees have had to face," Board Chair Trisha Estabrooks told CTV News Edmonton following the vote.
The division held a survey between Jan. 31 and Feb. 10 to gauge staff and parents' preference for scheduling the additional five days.
The survey asked whether people preferred clustered or spread out non-student days.
Nearly 6,700 people responded to the family section of the poll.
"My inbox has been full, my phone has been ringing," Estabrooks said. "I think overwhelmingly the parents that I've spoken with understand the tough financial position that we're in as a division."
"This is a tough decision and it's the first of many tough decisions that I think we will be facing as a board of trustees," said Estabrooks.
Here is the new calendar for the 2020-21 school year: