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Statement from Superintendent Kathy Cox Regarding the Budget and Shortening the School Year

 February 24, 2010  -- The Department of Education was recently asked to give the House and Senate thoughts about what should be done if the revenue continues to decline and we are faced with even more of a deficit. One possible consideration mentioned in a meeting was to shorten the school year.   Superintendent Cox issued the following statement today:  "I believe there is a need for clarification about the Department of Education's position regarding the state budget. I maintain that drastic and severe cuts hurt teachers and students and negatively impact the progress we have made in recent years. If there are further cuts to QBE (school system funding) then we can't expect things to be business as usual. While we fully recognize the severity of our revenue shortfall, we are not in favor of additional cuts to public K-12 education.   It is unrealistic to think that you can truly retain 180 days of quality instruction for students if all ten days of pre- and post-planning for teachers are cut. Expecting teachers to begin and end a school year on the same day students do is like a restaurant manager asking staff members to show up at the same time the first customer is to be served. That manager knows that if dinner service starts at 5:00 you better be willing to pay your chef to come in for preparation a few hours earlier. And when have you ever seen the staff leave the restaurant at the same time as the last customer? That restaurant would not be successful. Similarly, teachers need preparation time to be successful.   I appreciate the diligence of the legislators and the seriousness of their exploration of all the issues and all the options. We will continue to work with them to find the best solution for our state."