AL senator proposes shorter school year

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - Alabama school students could be spending more time out of the classroom over the next two years.

Due to money troubles, a state senator is proposing cutting the 180 days of instruction to 175 days.

"In 2006 the legislature added five instructional days at a cost of $95 million. What my bill does is reduce the instructional days to what we had in 2006 for two years," Montgomery Sen. Dick Brewbaker said on Good Day Alabama Wednesday morning.  

The reduction is expected to save the state almost $2 million over the next two years. Jefferson Co. School Superintendent Phil Hammonds had hoped lawmakers could find other cuts without cutting classroom time.

"In those days, those students are not in the classroom, losing instruction, I don't know how you make that up if you ever do," Hammonds said.

Hammonds said if cuts have to be made he would prefer to see teacher developmental days reduced. He said there are seven developmental days a year set aside to help teachers improve their classroom skills.

The director of Jefferson County's Professional Learning program, Jennifer Maye, said teachers will adapt, but it will hurt classroom instruction.

"I'm of the opinion we are going to have to do what we have to for our system and our students," Maye said.

Brewbaker said without cutting class time, teacher jobs will be lost and there will be bigger classrooms.

"I understand we are having to look at every option to save every dollar," Hammonds said.

"We have never been in a budget crisis like this and all of the choices are bad." Brewbaker said.

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