School year extended next year in Portland

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PORTLAND — The school year will be a little longer next year.

The teachers’ union has agreed to extend the amount of time teachers spend in the classroom with students by five full days, four of which are added to the schedule. One that was converted from a professional development day into a classroom day.

“The more time with teachers, the better it is for the students,” Superintendent James Morse Sr. said. “Ideally, if we could increase it by 30 days we would.”

The change, which puts students in class 180 days next year, comes at no additional cost to the system and Morse said the schools did not have to give anything up to negotiate the increase with the union.

“The teachers’ association and school system both agreed the time with the kids was necessary and important,” Morse said.

Students in grades 1-12 will begin classes on Sept. 6, the day after Labor Day, and kindergartners will begin school on Sept. 8. Students will be released early on Wednesdays from October through May.

The new contract does not include a step increase for teachers this year, but does include one for next year.

The contract gives teachers seven additional non-classroom days for professional development, two of which are for parent/teacher conferences.

Guidance counselors and librarians have an additional 10 days, five at the beginning of the year and five at the end, to do schedule and preparation work before and after the students are in school.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.