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Milton School District could change late-start plan

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
January 28, 2012
— Late-start days in the Milton School District wouldn’t start quite as late for younger students under a new proposal from the district.

In an interview this week, Superintendent Mike Garrow said he plans to give the school board details Monday of a proposal that would include regularly scheduled bus pickups and supervised before-school activities for K-6 students during once-monthly late-start days next year.


The activities would be housed at Milton schools and would be paid for by the district, Garrow said.


Late starts would replace the existing district practice of taking five half-days a year for staff professional development. Instead, teachers and staff would 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.


Garrow said bus routes for younger students on late-start days would run at the same time as regular school days, but older students would be bused on a separate, later route. He said the plan wouldn’t impact transportation because the district already splits bus routes by age.


It’s the opposite of a plan district administrators floated earlier that would have required working parents to provide their own transportation and pay for before-school day care at private childcare centers on late-start days.


That plan drew criticism from working parents who complained it would cost them money and time away from work. The plan was tabled twice by the board amid concerns by some board members that it wouldn’t provide viable childcare options.


Garrow said he believes the new plan satisfies parents’ concerns and gives staff more time to improve instruction and services. He said he expects the board to support it.


“It was simply the childcare issue that is the lynch-pin of it all. It will address that issue,” he said.


District administrators who developed the late-start plan say it would allow teachers and staff to meet regularly for staff professional development and behavior and academic-improvement in-services.


Garrow said that under the new plan, before-school programs would come at a “minor” additional cost, mostly through increased staff time for aides who would provide supervision.


He also said that a change to late starts, and related changes to times of in-services, could save the district as much as $25,000 in substitute teacher costs.



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