Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Think outside the box on Foss

Letter by Helen Talbo, Lakewood on Feb. 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm with 6 Comments »
February 10, 2011 1:22 pm

The closure of Foss High School can be prevented by busing students from the other schools to Foss and equalize enrollment at all high schools rather than having overcrowded classrooms by shuttling students en masse from Foss. This keeps the Foss community intact.

The Tacoma School Board should consider closing all schools from Thanksgiving break through New Year’s break. This approach will reduce district costs for heating, lights and bus transportation when it is colder. Athletic events could continue as scheduled because they have separate facilities.

Another consideration is to use a trimester schedule, extend seasonal breaks, and finish the school year in late June or early July. This would result in increased daylight available for classroom instruction, and allow students more daylight hours after school than they have in November and December. Utility expenses are reduced as a cost-saving measure to help the budget deficit and to keep Foss from closing; other elementary schools may not have to shut their doors either.

In order to prepare our students for this century and their future, policy makers and educators need to program accordingly instead of relying on an outdated school calendar year based on an agricultural society. Schools in many industrialized countries have a 200 -207 days calendar year.

An extended school year allows for increased teacher/educator planning time, holiday and seasonal breaks, and more daylight hours. Programming of this sort requires adjusting, yet it’s possible.

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  1. PumainTacoma says:

    We need more school days not less. And like many western countries they have Saturday school days from 8am-12pm that specialize in one subject like math and science. I can easily cut the fat. No more education money going to city funded programs like safe streets. If people really looked at where their tax dollars went and stop funding non-profit organization with your education dollars and stop funding buses to take kids to school when they can walk and require parents to buy school books we’d be closer to catching up with how the western European countries run their schools. Money goes to the schools not for transportation, or bloated non-profits.

  2. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    This is typical of people who want to avoid a specific public spending reduction–don’t close Foss, cut admin, instead use daylight to save electricty costs, etc. Two million is not made up from paper clips purchases and lawn maintenance reductions.

  3. cclngthr says:

    Cutting $2 million is not that easy just by nickle and diming the system. There has to be larger cuts somewhere. Closing underused schools saves more because each underused school in operation costs the district more because of additional staff, utilities, maintanance and building operation. 2 underused schools costs twice as much as one full school.

  4. “No more education money going to city funded programs like safe streets.”

    I can’t find a program code for Safe Streets. Do you have a dollar figure you can cite?

    http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/finance/Manuals/Documents/Accounting%20Coding%20Manual%20Documents/PROGRAMS.pdf

    Cutting transportation would do it. However, I’m not so sure if its practical.

    Plus some students would find gifted and other programs unavailable to them without transportation.

    Here is the school bus route web page.

    http://www0.tacoma.k12.wa.us/distinfo/transportation/index.asp

    http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/finance/Budget/Documents/F-195%20Budget%20Documents/2010-2011%20F-195.pdf

  5. commoncents says:

    200-207 (or even 240) school days would increase the costs. The majority of education spending is on salaries and benefits – much of which is based on 180 days of work. So salaries would need to be increased +10%. However, there would be a positive here…teachers would receive even less support when they complain about salaries. Me personally? I say put the kids in school 240 days, make the teachers work 260, raise the teaches salary 20% (yes, I know the math isn’t equivalent but I’m trying to “save a buck”) and let the teachers have vacation days to use whenever they want – except testing week. No more spring break, Christmas break, summer break…that’s their prep time. Oh, and I would imagine that kids scores would begin to improve as they have more time to dig deeper into topics.

  6. fanciladi says:

    Keep Foss open…………

    Let’s stop with all of the ‘red tape’ in the schools and let the teachers TEACH! Back to basics: the 3 ‘R’s as they used to say, plus HISTORY…cut the frills… We need to teach the students…educate them…that doesn’t cost as much as adding PC lessons…which I won’t list here…anyway, that’s my opinion.

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