'Secret sauce' to SCS success: extended days, moving funds - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

'Secret sauce' to SCS success calls for extended days, moving funds

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The Shelby County Schools budget for 2014-15 is now balanced. According to Superintendent Dorsey Hopson, the school system at one point for 2014-15 faced a $103 million shortfall.

A balanced budget comes at the expense of classroom programs; cuts include 40 pre-k classrooms, secondary Career and Technical Education programs and teachers as well as new social studies books.

DOWNLOAD: View SCS Fiscal 2015 budget draft (March 4, 2014)

Hopson said the school system lost more than $220 million in district funding for 2014-15 because of factors including the formation of municipal school districts and decrease of state funding.

During Friday's five-hour long budget meeting, the board discussed reallocating some funds to help K-3 literacy.

"Even if it means moving those resources from our high school and middle school and focusing more of our dollars at the K-3 point, I just think that's something we ought to be thinking about," said School Board Member Kevin Woods, "If all the data is pointing to 'if we lose them by third grade we lost those kids,' then I think we should be saying 'move more of those dollars to the K-3 area.''

Along with this, some board members believe an extended school day could provide that extra, hands-on time for reading to improve literacy levels.

School Board Member David Reaves noted extended days are the "secret sauce" to I-Zone school success. The I-Zone's extended days cost an extra $404 per student.

"Using maybe some of our learning pilot and some of our I-Zone programs to really begin to drive a lot of the K-3 achievement," said Reaves, "I think it's really a repartition of potentially some of our budget items to make sure that it happens."

The Federal Programs department is also asking for $443,674 to hire 14 education assistants and $361,228 to hire seven family engagement specialists in anticipation of the literary pilot program next year.

The school board has a proposed budget deadline of March 25. They need to have it approved and sent to the Shelby County Commission for approval by the end of April.

Community budget meetings will be held this month beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the following locations:
March 17 – Gray's Creek Auditorium
March 19 – SCS Board of Education Auditorium
March 20 – Whitehaven High School
March 21 – Snowden Middle School

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