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Board gives OK to cut school days



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The State Board of Education says school districts will be allowed to cut up to five school days in the 2010 school year if needed in order to save money.

The board voted 10-5 on the plan after heated debate on Friday.

However, the option is not available until districts first cut three professional development days for teachers -- called teacher quality days -- during which students are not at school but teachers are present.

Granite District spokesman Ben Horsley said, "One of the main concerns is that the cuts are felt across the board and everyone takes their fair share. We try to preserve jobs and preserve the classroom as much as possible."

Districts also will need the approval of local boards and parental input before any days can be eliminated.

Horsley says the Granite Board of Education will talk about it on Tuesday night.

"It's hard to say where that would come, where that would be at the end of the school year or just a blank that would be in the middle of the year. To be honest, the feasibility of that is still up in the air," he said.

According to the Deseret News, state board member Dave Thomas, South Weber, suggests cutting any school days from the middle instead of the end of the school year.

Districts and charter schools don't need the board's approval to eliminate the teacher quality days.

Utah schools are normally required to offer 990 hours of instruction over 180 school days. The change only applies to the 2010 school year.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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