Classroom Challenge

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Recently, the district eliminated $1.5 million, which means some major classroom challenges.

Next year kindergarten through sixth grade teachers are going to have to teach more than just reading, math and science. Teachers are also going to be responsible for gym, art, and music. Staff will also have to adjust to not having custodians since the district will outsource those jobs next year. While next years struggles are going to be an adjustment, the district could be in for a complete overhaul.

A completely new school calendar is being discussed in the South Beloit School District. In two years, a district-wide extended year is a possibility.

On Monday, a group of educators from the South Beloit School District went on a fieldtrip.

South Beloit Superintendent Michael Duffy said, “A group of about five people visited the Riverton School District. So far the initial feedback was mixed."

The Riverton School District near Springfield, Illinois is very similar to the South Beloit School District. Three years ago the entire Riverton district went to an extended calendar school year. That means school starts in August and students have a two week break about every nine weeks.

The year would be done by the first week in June giving students an eight week summer vacation. Duffy says he wanted extend the year to stop the regression over a three month summer break for the district's many at-risk youth.

Duffy stated, "We have a lot of problems with at risk student due to poverty, ethnic background, single parents, or even no parents."

Riverview Elementary Principal Scott Fisher was among the group to visit the district. He says the proof that this calendar works was missing.

Fisher said, "They didn't say student achievement went up, attendance did not increase, parent participation did not increase and there was no extra funding due to daily attendance."

Recently South Beloit eliminated $1.5 million. In this cash strapped district there really isn't much more room to spare? Fisher said the Riverton District had to shell out a lot more money for an extended calendar, but Duffy says the South Beloit district financially shouldn't be burdened.

Duffy tells 23 News, "It wouldn't increase expenses, and teachers won't teach any more days."

South Beloit would be one of the first district wide extended year calendars in our area.
The South Beloit School District is looking at a referendum come next November. The tax hike would be to help cover day to day operational costs like salaries and supplies.