Thursday, April 1, 2010

To all the AZ Parents out there

PHOENIX -- Parents are scrambling to deal with changes that will have their children go to school year-round and on alternative days.

Late Wednesday night, the Arizona Department of Education and Fishing decreed the changes, starting May 1, to help shave millions of dollars off the state budget. Based on the first letter of their last names, some students will go to class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, others on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

"It's going to be very hard," said one mother, noting she must find care for her children on the days they're off. "I don't even know if I can afford to work any more. It's going to get so bad."

Another lamented, "It will probably cost me a couple-thousand extra dollars a month because I have all-day care. It will be all-day care, it won't be after-school care, it will be all-day care."

Arizona teachers union representative Buzz Driver was furious after hearing details of the plan late Wednesday.

"They told us kids whose last names begin with the letters A through L are going to go to school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays," Driver said. "M through Z is going to go Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays."

Another representative, Tex Bookman, is frustrated his organization did not have a say in the matter.

"It's just like the Legislature to push something like this through in the middle of the night," he said.

To save additional money, the state will be closing 15 percent of schools in order to consolidate resources. Bookman is concerned, though, about what the changes will do to teachers, students and parents.

"This is nuts," he said of the new schedule.

However, former state school superintendent Lisa Keegan is excited about what this means for teachers and students.

"I really think it's going to be positive," she said.

Chuck Board with the Arizona Department of Education and Fishing said the changes are a great use of the state's tax dollars.

"This is a progressive program," he said.

To find out if your child's school is going to shut down call the Education Hotline at 602-200-2788. Click here for a list of schools to be closed. Also, text us your thoughts on the matter to 411923.

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