Janesville69.1°

Milton OKs late-start school plan

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
February 1, 2012
— The Milton School Board has approved a district plan to provide transportation and supervised before-school activities for young students on a handful of late-start days next year.

Superintendent Mike Garrow highlighted the plan at a board meeting Monday. It includes bus pickups and supervised activities at district schools for K-6 students during once-monthly late-start days next year.


School district aides would provide before-school supervision. The district would pay the costs of the plan.


The plan is a shift from an earlier one that would have required working parents with young children to pay for and provide transportation to private day care centers on late-start days. That plan drew criticism from working parents concerned about out-of-pocket day care costs or missed work if they had to supervise their young children on late-start days.


The board had tabled a decision on the earlier plan twice, with some board members asking the district to present a concrete plan for before-school services for younger students.


"The biggest concern I had was the people who had inflexible schedules and were looking at a cost factor (for day care), and how that was addressed," board member Wilson Leong said.


The board approved the new plan unanimously. Leong said the plan answered questions and satisfied the board's concerns.


"By providing supervised activity and some structure to give options to the people who didn't have a means, we offered a limited type of service that would address that," he said.


The late-start model was developed by district administration as a way to replace the practice of taking five yearly half-days for staff professional development. Garrow has said that late starts would allow teachers and staff to meet more often and more regularly to work on improvements for instruction and services.


Teachers and staff would instead meet early on nine late-start days scheduled one Monday each month.


On those days, school would start at 10 a.m. for all students. Bus routes for younger students on late-start days would run the same time as regular school days, but older students would be bused on a separate, later route. The plan wouldn't affect transportation because the district already splits bus routes by age.


Garrow called the cost of before-school activities "minor," and has said it would come through increased time for aides and crossing guards.


The Milton Education Association released this statement on the district's late-start model:


"We acknowledge the importance of professional development time for teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals, and, although this is something that we had not requested, we applaud the concept of providing the opportunity for such time under the current contracted day."



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