APS schedule change stays; teachers upset - Albuquerque Journal

APS schedule change stays; teachers upset

Teachers are upset with a plan to change high school schedules next year, but several Albuquerque Public Schools board members said the change is needed because it will save the district $4.6 million.

Nearly 20 teachers told the school board during a meeting Wednesday night they are upset over plans to change high school schedules.

“Even with the same total number of students, this means more work for teachers with no additional pay,” Daniel Shanley, an English teacher at Manzano High School, told the board.

Board members said Wednesday they understand teachers are frustrated, but stopped short of seeking a stop to the schedule change. And that’s unlikely according to board president Don Duran.

“That’s a staff decision,” Duran said Friday. Anyone who proposes nixing the schedule change needs to propose another way to save $4.6 million, he said.

APS administration, which announced the change last month, plans to move forward with the change, spokeswoman Johanna King said.

When the administration announced the change last month, officials said it would help improve academics and overcome a multi-million dollar budget shortfall next year.

With the schedule change and other cost-cutting measures, APS has covered the shortfall for next year, King said.

APS faced a shortfall because the cost of running the district has outstripped gains in revenue in recent years, Don Moya, APS chief financial officer, said Wednesday.

The change would give teachers an extra class and essentially allow APS to cut staffing costs for teachers, the administration has said.

Fewer teaching positions should not result in layoffs, but can be reached through existing vacancies and attrition, the administration has said.

Under the new schedule, students will have mostly shorter class periods, 51 minutes, with some longer, 90-minute classes sprinkled in throughout the week. Under the current schedule, students have mostly longer class periods.

“Shorter class times will result in more lecturing and less student interaction,” Glenn Wellman, a teacher at Eldorado High School, told the board Wednesday. “The best part of Eldorado is the project-based learning, and we will see some diminishment in that.”

APS administration has said the shorter class periods will allow teachers to have students in class more times each week and that should help some students.

“What I heard (Wednesday) evening is very distressing,” board member Lorenzo Garcia said after the teachers had spoken.

Board member Steven Michael Quezada said Friday he too felt bad for teachers but doesn’t see a way around the schedule change.

“They showed us all the options, and it’s really slim pickings,” Quezada said. He added that public schools need more funding.

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