• On Target
  • Special Message
  • Longer School Day and Year ‘Nothing New’

    Challenge is in the Implementation

    by NJASA Executive Director Dr. Richard G. Bozza

    “The 180-day calendar, six-hour school day is indeed a relic of the past. That’s why extending the school day and the school calendar year has been part of the education dialogue for decades. In fact, New Jersey districts have been steadily adding time to the school schedule. NJ Spotlight reported that ‘30 percent of new contracts included some added days or minutes up from just 15 percent two years earlier.’”

    “As superintendent, I negotiated additional minutes and days through the collective bargaining process. But importantly, there is a cost. Staff members need to be paid for additional hours. There also is an increased cost in facilities, including air conditioning during summer months. Districts do not receive the funding called for in the existing school funding formula established by law. Who will pay for the additional time for schools to be open? If they have to chisel out funding from already strapped budgets, will districts want to, or be able to do this?”

    “This is not an inexpensive proposition. A proposed pilot program that covers extended hours in just 25 districts will cost $150 million, funded by individual and corporate tax credits over three years. Extended hours in Camden earn teachers between $3,000 and $7,500 each in additional stipends.”

    “There is an alternative to lengthening the school day and year in all districts across the state.

    We can fulfill the funding law and focus on early childhood in high needs districts, placing dollars in targeted areas that could make a difference.”

    “Along with Governor Christie, we applaud the efforts of superintendents of Camden and Newark, Paymon Rouhanifard and Cami Anderson, respectively. He emphasized the important work that they, and other chief education officers, are doing. Together, we will work with a plan that will enable New Jersey students to reach their greatest potential.”