Union Schools cutting two of its year-round schools

Tuesday, April 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Cuts keep coming for Oklahoma schools. Now the Union Public School district is trimming $4.5-million from its budget. And that will cost the district two of its year-round schools.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says year-round programs like the one at Peters Elementary are a privilege that Union Public Schools can no longer afford. "I'm sorry for the program I know there are a lot of parents that really like I like it and my students like it I know they're sorry to." Linda Anderson has taught year-round since the program started six years ago.

She says the schedule of nine weeks of class followed by a three-week break makes a difference for her students. "There are some students that really learn better like that, just works better the calendar for the families." The program thrived here, but the budget axe has fallen. Lean economic times are forcing Union to cut the year-round program at Peters Elementary and the one at Cedar Ridge Elementary. It'll save the district more than $100,000 in transportation and staffing costs.

Everyone is aware of the district's budget situation and they're trying to be understanding. Jennifer Randall, Peters Principal: "I think they've done a wonderful job. It’s just always sad when you have to cut programs that you've worked so hard to build and it’s like taking a giant step backwards."

Peters Elementary won't be closing its doors, just going back to a traditional calendar. Any students that want to stick with the program would have to transfer to Roy Clark Elementary, the district's only remaining year round school. Before now, school officials were desperately trying to keep budget cuts from directly affecting the classroom. With the latest round of cuts, that isn’t possible.

In addition to the loss of the year-round program, the loss of 60 teachers could increase class sizes by as many as five students in some grades.