Class warfare: School district wants to cut back to 6 periods a day

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The students want more, the district wants less.

School leaders, students and parents are clashing over how many class periods there should be at L'Anse Creuse high schools. If students get their way, it could cost some teachers their jobs.

The school district has been dealing with declining enrollment and that means less per pupil funding from the state. One way to save money is to go back to the way the district used to do things. Six periods rather than seven and saving the money with less teachers.

The Potential layoffs are being considered as the district attempts to close a $2 million gap.

"So for the mistakes in the district, the students are supposed to pay for that," said one parent.

The floodgates opened and passion poured out at a L'Anse Creuse school board meeting.

"You are not speaking with the students' voices which is what you were put here to do," said a student.

"Without any regard for them," a student's father said. "You've made a decision to cut their programs."

Students and parents are clamoring to keep choice in the curriculum. Some say going from seven to six periods in a day will make the district less appealing.

So if the cuts go through that are proposed. what will we claim," asked one parent. "That we are average? That we have the same thing to offer, that all the other districts in the area offers."

Others argue, this may benefit some. The length of the day stays the same but teachers and students get more time in the classroom focusing on core subjects.

"If you fix your schedule around, you don't have to take three or four band classes," said a woman. "If you want to take extra music, take them after school."

"There isn't always a right answer it's just what works for us," said Dr. Jackie Johnston, superintendent of L'Anse Creuse.

This dialogue comes after someone vented their frustration illegally days ago, spray painting the school because they felt they weren't being heard on this issue.

"We're going to figure out who was responsible and there will be appropriate discipline," said Dr. Jackie Johnston, superintendent of L'Anse Creuse.

The superintendent says she understands why people felt left out the process until know - because they were.

"The process was a negotiation process with the union," she said.

Those negotiations are closed to the public until now. So just how will the district save money in all this?

"It would be a direct cost of teachers," Johnston said. 

The potential; layoffs are a result of the $2 million gap.

"All your heads are on the chopping block and the ones who don't do the right thing," warned a parent to the school board. "Expect to be chopped."

According to one school board member we are talking about 10 teaching positions that could be lost as a result of this decision - one that could take all summer long.