ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A pair of alternate high school schedules Albuquerque Public Schools administrators are looking into would save money by keeping high school students in school for slightly less time each week and teachers in the classroom more.
The proposals, presented for discussion at APS’ board meeting Wednesday are being presented to teachers and the public for consideration.
Under those alternate plans, students would leave school an hour earlier or get there an hour later one or two days a week. During that time, teachers would collaborate with other teachers.
However taken as a whole, the changes would cut back on the amount of time teachers have to prepare lessons and the time to collaborate with other teachers during the school day. As a result, teachers would spend more of their time in the classroom teaching.
Because they would be teaching more, APS chief academic officer Shelly Green says the change would save the district on staffing costs. According to an estimate provided to board members, the changes would save the district $4.6 million a year.
That could be important as APS looks to make up what’s now an estimated $22 million budget shortfall.
Some teachers who spoke at Wednesday’s meeting and the teacher’s union expressed early skepticism about the idea.
“High achieving countries that we are compared to, what they do differently than America is they give teachers an incredible amount of time to work together,” said Ellen Bernstein, president of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
“I don’t know what the solution is but if we need money — please, something else,” said Buckner Creel, a math teacher at Highland High School.
The district says it is still in the very early stages of looking at the pros and cons of those alternate schedules and isn’t officially backing any specific idea right now.