Possible six-period days restrict choices

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Crisis in FCPS schools. In an attempt to meet the budget deficit, a new plan has been proposed to save money: removing a class in students’ schedules and creating a six-period day.

FCPS is facing a bottom-line budget deficit of $140.7 million in FY 2015, due to “revenues that have not kept pace with growing enrollment and increasing mandatory costs,” according toPatch.com.

In response to this, a suggested solution would be to simply remove a class period, thereby cutting faculty and lowering costs of education.

“It’s a way for them to find savings,” subschool Principal Cynthia Prieto said. “If you have, like in our school, 4,000 students taking seven classes and instead reduce it to 4,000 students taking six classes, you have just saved on all kinds of teachers.”

While this plan would save a considerable amount of money, ethical issues also need to be take into consideration when making this decision as many teachers would lose their jobs.

“In my mind I think it’s honestly wrong,” Prieto said.

Not only this, but with one less class period, students would lose one elective choice.

“I wouldn’t like it,” sophomore Jocelyn Escobar said. “I like having two electives so that we have more credits for college.”

Students are already required to take certain electives in order to graduate from high school. With less choices, students’ high school experiences would be limited.

“I think the opportunities that students have to experience, and not only that, but to explore, is very valuable,” Prieto said. “I am a believer in the ‘whole’ student, which includes art, physical activity, learning and life experiences. All of those are huge for a child, not just cores.”

If this plan was to be approved, drastic changes would occur in schools. FCPS would save a great deal of money; however, it would come at the cost of students having fewer electives to choose from in high school as well as the jobs of several teachers. This begs the question, would it be worth it to save money? As more than 85 percent of the school budget goes to employee compensation, and salary raises next year are estimated to cost the system about $42 million, all plans proposed will concern faculty cuts. Which is why FCPS’s new Superintendent Karen Garza has suggested a furlough day for all employees next year, for a possible savings of $7.9 million, and cutting all employees’ contract lengths by one day, for a savings of about $9 million, according to washingtonpost.com. Regardless, something will be lost.

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