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Longer school day, year on the horizon?

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Superintendent Karl Springer has made no secret of the fact that he wants Oklahoma City school kids in class more hours and more days in the year.

The Oklahoman reported in May on his hopes for implementing a district wide calendar that would shorten the summer to just a few weeks but adds shorter breaks throughout the year .

“The long-term effect of that could be wonderful,” Springer told The Oklahoman. “If you think about our kids starting in kindergarten and going through 12th grade and getting an extra hour of school each day, they’d get a year’s more time in class than they would have otherwise.” 

But even with seven schools in the district already using the calendar, the idea could have been considered nothing more than a pipe dream. Longer school days and longer school years require lots of money to pay teachers, and school districts across the state are strapped for cash.

Rumors are surfacing that the district might put one or both changes - longer school days and years - on the table for the union to consider may as early as the 2011 school year.

Ed Allen, representative of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers, has said if such an offer was brought forward the union would be amicable.

So where would the money come from?

The Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore schools unveiled a myriad of reforms; among them was the proposal to use the recent federal teacher jobs money to give teachers a $1,500 signing bonus. Could that pot of cash also coming to Oklahoma be used to pay teachers for working longer hours and longer years?

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