Shoreham-Wading River music students may need to wake up earlier next year

Some students at Shoreham-Wading River High School might be setting their morning alarm clocks a bit earlier next year.

As part of a money-saving idea, high school principal Dan Holtzman presented a plan for a restructured school day that would begin at 7 a.m. for music students at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

The presentation as made in anicipation of next school year’s budget, when the district is slated to receive an 11.6 percent cut in state aid.

High school principal Dan Holtzman said restructuring the school day at the high school would save about $40,000 — an admittedly meager amount compared to the $985,326 the district is losing in aid.

The high school’s day currently begins at 7:20 a.m., ends at 2:05 p.m. and is made up of nine periods.

About 200 students who participate in band, chorus or orchestra would start school at 7 a.m. with a new period, dubbed “zero period,” while the rest of the student body would start with first period at 7:45 a.m. Mr. Holtzman said accommodations would be made for students who participate in more than one of the co-curriculars.

Classes would end after eighth period, but all students would have the option of attending a ninth period, a regular extra-help session during which every teacher in the building would be available. That means music students seeking extra help would attend 10 periods in a day, while other students would attend either eight or nine.

The high school currently spends about $40,000 to pay teachers for extra help, Mr. Holtzman said, which is currently run when the school day is over. The savings would come from factoring extra help into the school day.

Teacher layoffs would surely result in greater savings, but Superintendent Harriet Copel asked each building principal to recommend cost-saving measures that do not include layoffs.

“In looking at what we could do as a high school beyond the reduction of staff, that’s where the greatest savings will come from,” Mr. Holtzman said of the proposed restructured school day.

Dr. Copel said she takes issue with asking some students to wake up even earlier than they do now.

Board Member Rich Pluschau expressed half-hearted support for Mr. Holtzman’s recommendation.

“It’s not a significant money saver,” he said.

Decisions to reduce staffing have not yet been made, board members said.

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