SCASD updates extended day proposal

The State College Area school board was presented on Monday with an update to the extended school day proposal, which included the plan’s potential effects on the district’s annual budget.

The updates included the results of a transportation study commissioned by the board in October, which cost about $25,000.

School Bus Consultants, a Missouri-based company, studied the impact the proposal could have on the transportation routes that cover the 150-square-mile district.

Under the proposal, the elementary start time moves from 8:44 a.m. back to 8:10 a.m. and the day would end at 3 p.m. instead of 2:50 p.m. Middle and high school students would start at 8:40 a.m. instead of 8:10 a.m. and their day would end at 3:42 p.m. and 3:40 p.m., instead of 3:12 p.m. and 3:16 p.m. respectively.

Bus routes and duration will not change, but the district will need to replace six 30-passenger buses with 48-passenger buses, which will result in a one-time cost of $200,000.

The increase will extend the hours worked by transportation drivers, which will cost the district about $350,000 annually.

A one-time cost of $250,000 will fund a fifth elementary school special subject.

Elementary students have four special subjects that they study one day per week: art, music, library and health and physical education. Previous versions of the proposal have suggested adding a world language and culture course, but following a survey sent to parents and faculty the group’s results rank a STEM course as their first choice. The district has not made a decision on the issue.

The additional subject is responsible for the largest impact on the annual budget. If the proposal is passed, the districts expects to add 10 teaching positions, which will cost about $900,000 per year.

The proposal adds 24 minutes of core instructional time if the district does not add the fifth special and 14 minutes if the district decides to add the special, according to Vernon Bock, assistant superintendent of elementary education.

Under the proposal, recess for elementary school will be increased, but the district will need to hire and train additional staff to supervise the recess period. The district will also need to increase staff support for the special education program. The two needs will cost the district about $200,000 annually.

The total budget impact is about $2 million in the first year and about $1.5 million annually. The district included $1.4 million in their 2016-2017 budget projection and in the summer of 2016, they received an increase of about $645,000 in general state education funds, which will be used toward the annual cost of the proposal. The state fund increase is expected to remain intact, according to Randy Brown, finance and operations officer.

According to a release, if the proposal moves forward, a plan to identify the $450,000 of one-times costs will need to be detailed.

A vote on the proposal is expected on Dec. 18.

Leon Valsechi: 814-231-4631, @leon_valsechi