Dear Bixby Public School Parents, Students, and Staff Members:
Re: Change of Last Day of 15-16 School Year from May 20th to May 12th
I believe it is a well-known fact that funding for public schools and specifically funding for Bixby Public Schools has suffered severe cuts from the State as a result of two declared revenue failures. We have cut expenses in a variety of areas so that, for the current school year, our classrooms have been protected, specifically in the area of teacher-to-student ratios.
As previously reported, next year will be very much a different story. However, next year is not the subject of this communication. The current school year and changing the last day of the school year is the subject of this communication: As a means of maximizing our efforts to control and cut current year costs, the District will change the last day of the school year from May 20, 2016 to May 12, 2016.
Several years ago our District adopted a school-year calendar based on a number of hours that school is in session. The State allows schools to adopt calendars based on a number of days or, as in the case of BPS, based on a number of hours. In the case of hours, the minimum number of hours stipulated by the State is 1,080. BPS adds additional hours above the state minimum for several reasons.
We think it important, on a standard basis, to establish a school-year calendar with a solid start and end date, thus allowing family calendars to be built with a moderate level of confidence. We built in additional hours in our calendar so that when the need presents itself to cancel school, such as inclement weather or other unsafe conditions, school may be closed without infringing on the minimum hours required. As a matter of practice and regardless of actually cancelling school for inclement weather or unsafe conditions, the District does not change the last day of school.
As mentioned above, we feel it important to give families the ability to plan their calendars with a good level of confidence. Leaving the school year ending date the same allows for this. Also, not changing the last day of school, especially when school days are not cancelled during the school year, allows us to maximize our school year with our students in terms of instructional time. We like the idea of having more time for instruction than is required by the State.
Our current school year presents a unique problem for us, however. Adjustments have to be made in a budget when revenues come in short of projections. We have cut expenses by way of a hiring freeze, reducing expenditures for materials, supplies, and equipment, and reducing professional travel, student travel, and professional development, among others. We have not had to cancel school during the current school year due to inclement weather or unsafe conditions. Therefore, we are eligible to reduce our school year the equivalent amount of time built in the calendar for potential school closure days.
Bixby Public Schools will save approximately $100,000 by changing the last day of the school year from May 20th to May 12th. We are short revenue from the State approximately $630,000 to date. The savings as result of changing the last day of school is significant for BPS.
Dr. Kyle Wood