A message from the
Dear Community Members,
One area that affects our students at the Jr./Sr. High School level (and has been a source of much attention) is our schedule. We are currently running a modified block schedule, resulting in 75 minute classes in a five period per day format. Most classes run on alternating days. Some version of block scheduling has been in place for 16 years. As we look for ways to improve our Jr./Sr. High School, we must look at the schedule.
There will be eight periods in a day plus a 30-minute lunch. While some students may choose to take eight classes, others may find that having a study hall suits their learning needs best. I am excited to say that by making this change to a traditional schedule, students will have better access to electives than before. In addition, our vocational BOCES students will be able to take more classes at Eden because the classes will now fit into their schedule, unlike in the past. We intend to offer the same Advanced Placement (AP) classes and College Credit (CC) classes; in fact, over the next few years it is our intent to increase the number of AP and CC courses that we offer.
In the Senior High School, students request courses based on their interests. Each year, some courses do not generate enough student interest and have too low of an enrollment to run. This is true no matter what kind of schedule we use. This does not mean that a particular course will not run the following year. As of today, the number of courses which will not run next year due to low enrollment encompass less than 5% of all course offerings. Within the next few weeks, our Guidance Department will be contacting students about their course requests and giving them an opportunity to choose another elective in case a course they chose is not running. This is the process we will use each year and is standard practice across all high schools.
With the change to a traditional schedule in the Jr./Sr. High School we will also be able to operate more efficiently in terms of staffing. This does mean that there will be reductions in staff. It is always difficult to make these adjustments, given the quality and dedication of our teaching staff.
Throughout the budget process, together with our Board of Education, we worked diligently to maintain programs. Eden Schools have a strong reputation in academics, sports, the arts, and extra-curricular involvement, and although expense reductions have been made in all areas, we have preserved programs and minimized the impact on students. We are keeping the Elementary Gifted and Talented program and maintaining two bus runs. We held the line on class size in the Elementary School and retained a new teacher at GLP which reduces class size in the primary grades.
There are also cost savings to report at the Administrative level. I will soon be recommending a new Finance Director to the Board of Education at a reduced cost relative to current year cost. The Jr./Sr. High School Assistant Principal position, currently a 12-month position, will be reduced to a 10-month (plus 10 summer days) position. In addition, Mr. Schaefer, Principal of Eden Elementary School for 21 years, will retire at the end of this school year. After much discussion and debate about eliminating the Jr./Sr. High School Assistant Principal, these cost savings will allow us to maintain the Assistant Principal position while still significantly reducing our administrative expenses.
From the revenue side of the budget, we have closed the budget gap with a tax increase below the tax cap, a modest increase in state aid and the use of reserves. We have reduced our expenses in health care, staff, and administrative costs. We have made changes that are difficult, yet manageable and fiscally responsible.
I continue to be impressed by the commitment of our Board of Education, our staff, our students and our community to ensure that the interests and needs of each student are considered. As your Superintendent, I, too, am committed to improving the quality of our educational program K-12 and thank you for your support of our schools.
Eden Central Schools