Heated debate flares at MCSD meeting on longer school days proposed for elementary students

Heated debate flares at MCSD meeting on longer school days proposed for elementary students

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -In a push and pull discussion at the Muscogee County School Board Work Session Monday, the question remains of if elementary students in Muscogee County will have longer days next school year.

“I am opposed to the idea of earlier start times for young kids,” said Michael Edmondson, District 2 school board member.

The administration is proposing that the elementary school day be expanded by 30 minutes to increase instruction time, promote flexibility for music, art, P.E., recess, field trips and coding; as well as ease traffic congestion and reduce bus delays. But in the work session, the board was divided on the proposal.

“There’s an obvious need for us to work toward the standard, so we’re trying to accomplish all of those by extending the elementary school times,” explained Lewis.

According to the board, Muscogee County now has the lowest available time for students in the classroom which is 6 hours and 30 minutes. This proposal raises the learning time to 7 hours a day, which would equate to 90 additional hours of instructing time totaling around 13 days of instruction for the year.

“The 30 minutes, as a former elementary school principal, is big for instruction,” said David Goldberg, chief operation and facilities officer for the school district.

“Other counties and school districts are providing addition time because it’s the right thing to do. We have a model that provides us with the least amount of instructional time, so I think that’s important,” explained Patricia Hugley Green, MCSB District 1 Chair.

Parents said they believe it can be a good idea for students.

“Some kids need more time in elementary school. So, it could be good time depending on what that time will be used for,” said Columbus parent Janet Rono.

“For elementary students to get an extra 30 minutes for recess, I think the elementary students need a recess, so I don’t have a problem with that,” explained one parent who wishes to remain unnamed.

The board also discussed the possibility of a $0.10 increase on school lunches for high school and middle schools after a recommendation by the School Nutrition Program. There was also a discussion of the implementation of school uniforms for Brewer Elementary School and East Columbus Magnet Academy. The vote on the topics is scheduled for next week.

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