Source: Sherman Publications

One year reprieve for block scheduling

by David Fleet

November 30, 2011

Goodrich- Block scheduling will stay for now.

The board voted 6-1 Monday night to make the switch from block scheduling to traditional for the 2013-14 school year unless the district receives more state funding. The board had voted 6-1 in July to implement a traditional class schedule in the 2012-13 school year.

Trustee Niki Wiederman motioned to reverse the July 18 board decision. Doug Tetmeyer, board secretary, voted no to the extension.

“We’re not ready to make that change,” Wiederman said. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it right… so everybody’s prepared.”

Wiederman said the year delay is needed to allow current middle school students to have the opportunities to prepare for a traditional six or seven hour class day.

“If you’re in eighth grade you’ll have the opportunity to take classes to earn high school credit,” she said. “For example, you can take Algebra I in eighth grade for high school credit. Right now, our current eighth graders are coming into the high school without opportunity to gain high school credit.”

The change from the current block scheduling system for students to a traditional system would slash about $200,000 a year off a budget that could end up $2 million in the hole next year. An initial investment of $100,000 to double the high school’s textbook supply is needed to make the change.

Linda Jackson supported the extension of block scheduling until the 2012-13 school year.

“I voted to go to six hour days (last July) due to money,” she said. “The state (of Michigan) has set us up for failure. People need to realize they (state legislators) are not funding education—many districts have a greater financial burden than us. Our class sizes are too large. I’ve seen how block scheduling has done, I see the value. There should not be over 22 (students per class). Block scheduling is expensive and we have to be ready. It’s my hope the state is going to come through with money.”

The district has deliberated eliminating the current block scheduling system where students attend four 90-minute classes. The concept creates more time for teaching due to less class switching and preparation. It also allows for a student to take four electives, rather than two or three.

Conversely, a traditional schedule would include six to seven classes lasting about 60 minutes each.

Concern for the projected 2012-13 district budget caused Tetmeyer to oppose the extension of one year

“I cannot vote for this— we are in the hole $2 million next year,” he said. “It’s not gong to be easy. We listen to what you (the public) say.”

Chip Schultz, trustee, supported one more year.

“I agree that a $2 million hole in the budget is not good—we’re looking for what the state is going do next year.”