The Oak Ridge Observer ran an editorial last week entitled “Year-Round School, Take 2.” In short, the newspaper felt they’d jumped the gun in their earlier criticism of the Oak Ridge Schools administration and staff for not being more aggressive in providing the BOE with information on a potential year round school calendar for the entire system.
The feedback that the original editorial garnered served as sufficient data for the editor to change his mind on the matter. It should be noted that no sources were cited to substantiate his claims, which are as follows: Year round school doesn’t save money, doesn’t enhance learning, and doesn’t have the support of the staff, board or community.
While I’m neither for nor against a year round school schedule, at least not in theory, I have followed this matter from the beginning (see my conversation with Mr. Eby that began nearly a year ago here) and make the following observations:
- Mr. Eby, with the support of the rest of the BOE, originally sought to answer the question, “Which system is more cost efficient…year round, traditional or the hybrid we currently have?” He did not limit his inquiry to only the year round option.
- I applaud Mr. Eby’s intentions and efforts to try to find more efficient ways of providing our students a quality education especially since no one else in the administration has truly attempted to do this as is evidenced by their relentless pursuit for more money from the taxpayer.
- The administration delayed in providing the BOE with the requested data numerous times. In fact, I find no evidence that they’ve ever answered the most important questions: How much would it cost to run a full year-round system? A full traditional system? We know what it costs to operate our current hybrid system: $57+ Million. And we know that that is much more than any other system in Tennessee (based on per pupil spending.) And we know that other systems are equally, if not more, successful than ours in operating with less funding.
- If the answers are/were so clear, then why weren’t they presented to the BOE long ago? Where is the data?
Unfortunately, Mr. Eby is starting to understand what many citizens have long known and that is that Mr. Tom Bailey, Mr. Ken Green and Mrs. Karen Gagliano have no interest in efficiency or accountability. I can at least hope that he is starting to understand this.