Teachers, students, parents sound off at Cape Girardeau school b - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Teachers, students, parents sound off at Cape Girardeau school board meeting

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

A proposed shake-up to the school day has Cape Girardeau, Missouri teachers, students and parents asking some tough questions on Monday night, Nov. 23.

"Our elective teachers have spent years developing their programs," seventh grade teacher Kellie Phillips said.

Phillips is a science teacher at the Cape Girardeau junior high.

She said Superintendent Jim Welker's plans to lower the number of class periods isn't going to help students.

"By moving from an eight period day to a seven period day, this will eliminate an entire year of electives for the children," she said. "Just at seventh and eighth grade level alone, that's a possibility of four semesters worth of electives."

After last week's board meeting, teachers submitted six pages of questions for Welker, which he answered.

One concern teachers have is how long it will take to save any money by moving to a seven period day.

Welker admits it may take several years to see the full benefit.

Another concern is that of secondary teachers losing their prep time as well.

Welker pointed out if the district is going to raise teacher salaries, it has to make cuts elsewhere.

Having two prep periods, he said, costs the district $600-800,000 per year.

"This would then reduce the number of staff that is required by the district and save some money in that way," Welker said. "That money can be used to increase our salary schedule."

Welker's salary was another big concern for teachers, they question how many raises he's received.

According to Missouri Administration Salaries, Welker's salary is $146,317, Jackson's superintendent is $145,387, while Poplar Bluff Supt makes $150,226.

Dr. Welker said, they're trying to make the best possible decisions for the district.

"We are trying to put together a plan that address both those issues providing some consistent collaboration time and to deal with the budget in terms of trying to provide increase salaries," Welker said.

The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. and was still going on past 10 p.m.

Requests for interviews with teachers and other school administrators were denied because they said they would have to get the district's approval first.

A final vote will be taken at a later date.

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