Better option is to have four-day school week

Cutting teachers and their salaries is an unacceptable and unsustainable solution to our school budget shortfall. Our Board of Education needs to take responsibility for offering quality education solutions instead of offering up Mr. Holcomb as a sacrificial lamb. Further, when it comes to Lansing and our inept legislature, the Board should ask for forgiveness not permission.

The Board can easily change variable costs of Alpena Public Schools while improving education and preserving teachers. First, change the school week to four days and add two hours to each day: this cuts variable costs of transportation (one of our largest budget items), food/cafeteria, ancillary staff hours and other overhead up to 20 percent. Further, it reduces by 20 percent the likelihood a substitute teacher will be needed. It increases classroom time for students by freeing up one day a week for teacher in-service days – no need to cancel classes when there is a “free” day each week.

A four-day school week ensures parents and students have more time for self-learning/homework, which are important life skills. It eliminates the need for after-school care on school days as the children would be in school the same time most parents are at work. It opens up business opportunities in Alpena for full-day care, which could focus on special skills (music, art, technology) during the days students are not at school for parents that have children requiring supervision.

Second, transition to internet-based individualized teaching. This longer-term solution would eventually eliminate the need for ACES while simultaneously allowing advanced students to access college-level material as students could learn at their own pace, instead of forcing all students to learn all subjects at the same rate.

Can’t be done? Nonsense. But blame the Board not the superintendent.