The Prince William County School Board voted five to three Wednesday to reduce the length of the teacher workday from 7.5 hours to 7 hours.
The change will revert school work hours to the length they were prior to 2012; the measure goes into effect for the 2016-17 school year.
Potomac School board member Justin Wilk supported the action, along with Chairman Ryan Sawyers, Lillie Jessie (Occoquan), Willie Deutsch (Coles) and Diane Raulston (Neabsco.)
Gil Trenum (Brentsville), Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville) and Loree Williams (Woodbridge) voted against the measure, saying they would rather support other changes to allow teachers more flexibility and autonomy in their use of planning time.
Wilk posed the the issue months ago, claiming teachers felt the initial 2012 vote was a punitive move against them.
Members were united on the need to boost teacher morale.
“I think, amazingly, we’re all on the same page,” Sawyers said.
Before the vote, Dr. Jennifer Cassata, Director of Accountability, presented the finding of a survey PWCS gave to teachers to help the administration better understand their feelings about the additional 30 minutes.
Good for the School Board. Finally. Yes, the addition of the half hour 4 years ago was a slap in the face. It simply said no real raise but give us more time and like it.
No teacher walks in when the bell rings and walks out at dismissal. There are always mandatory meetings, conferences or some other non-teaching duties that must be attended to. This move by the School Board was symbolic but important to morale.
Here’s a novel idea–why not shorten the day AND allow more flexibility? How about adding a couple personal days to those 3 days teachers already get? How about making them unrestricted personal days for a full week? There’s a start at saying the School Board knows they are screwing their employees. It’s sort of an “I’m sorry.”
Until the Board of County Supervisors stops playing on the cheap and supports education, this is just how things will be. Classrooms will be over-crowded and teachers will be stressed. The BOCS is too busy playing politics to notice.
The last laugh will be when no one goes into the field because of the crappy conditions. Meanwhile, good for the SB for getting rid of the dreaded extended school day.