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Ashland schools won't cut days in 2010-11

ASHLAND — For the first time in two years, no school days will be cut from the academic calendar during the budget process, Ashland Schools Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said.

The district has enough money to eliminate teacher furlough days for the 2010-11 school year, she said.

"We'll have a full school year for students and a full work year for teachers and everyone else, too," she said Thursday.

Last spring, the district instituted five teacher furlough days for this academic year — cutting four in-service days and one regular school day.

"We are in much better shape right now than last year at this time, when we were in a state of free-fall," Di Chiro said.

During the 2008-09 school year, the district also cut five days from the regular calendar, extending spring break by a week.

School Board officials told Di Chiro at a budget meeting recently that their first priority was to restore the full school year, she said.

"If there's anything to reinstate, it is to provide the kids with a full education and provide teachers with full opportunity to earn their salary," said Board Chairman Keith Massie. "We haven't had a full school year for two years now, so it seems like the most common-sense thing to do."

The board is scheduled to vote on the proposed calendar for next academic year at tonight's meeting, which will begin at 7 in the City Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

The district still is negotiating with teachers and classified workers over salary increases for next academic year, Di Chiro said.

In May, the entire budget for next academic year will be available and the Budget Committee will begin to fine-tune it.

The district does not plan to cut programs for the 2010-11 school year, Di Chiro said. Because funding levels for the following academic year are uncertain, the district is planning to keep a $2 million reserve, enabling it to avoid some cuts if state funding plummets, she said.

Hannah Guzik is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach her at 541-482-3456, ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.