BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – The Brevard County School Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to charge parents $600 a year per child for aftercare on Early Release Days.
Last month, Brevard Public Schools announced that every Wednesday will be an Early Release Day during the 2015-16 school year. No public hearing was held by the School Board before this decision was made for parents and teachesr to voice their opinions on the increase of Early Release Days. This schedule means that there is now a total of 40* Early Release Days for the school year, which breaks down to $15 a day for aftercare.
Parents will have to pay the after-school fee in six $100 installments in August, September, October, November, January, and February. Rates for parents who use after-school care for the entire week remained unchanged. Parents who only need about an hour of aftercare in order to fill the gap between the Early Release time and the regular dismissal time are still charged for four hours worth of aftercare.
The Brevard Federation of Teachers union pushed for every Wednesday to be an early release day during their contract negotiations with the Brevard County School Board back in May so that teachers could have more planning time.
The reduced class time on Wednesday is expected to increase demand for after school care for elementary-aged students. Before the change, after care fees generated over $5 million in revenue for Brevard Public Schools annually while expenditures to staff the after school care program are around $3.8 million.
After receiving questions from parents about the reduced classroom time, Brevard County Public Schools published the following Q&A last month:
Q: What is the purpose of Early Release Wednesdays?
A: Early release Wednesdays will provide important opportunities for teachers to engage in professional learning along with collaborative and individual planning. This time is valuable, as it will support school and district efforts to continuously improve teaching and learning for all children.
Q: When will early release Wednesdays begin?
A: Wednesday, August 19, which is the second week of school. They will continue every week until school dismisses in June.
Q: How will the start and release times be affected by this change?
A: The school day start and dismissal times should remain consistent with the 2014-2015 Early Release Days. If there is a slight modification, it will be at the individual school level. Parents are encouraged to contact their school directly to determine if there is any change for the 2015-2016 school year.
Q: Will secondary schools have to modify schedules in order to satisfy state requirements for earning of credits?
High schools must provide for 67.5 hours of instruction per class in order to award credit each semester. The first semester of 2015-2016 is 88 days. To meet the requirements for single semester courses in semester 1 (PE, American Government, Economics, Sociology) the calendar has been slightly adapted. Single semester courses will meet one day after the winter break (January 5, 2016) to wrap-up coursework.
Q: What arrangements for School-Aged Child Care or secondary student supervision will be made to accommodate Early Release Wednesdays?
A: Staffing hours for School-Aged Child Care will be adjusted to accommodate the increased need for elementary school supervision at the close of the student day. A special rate for the 16 early release days only will be made available. The price for the Wednesday only will be released prior to the beginning of school start. Check with your school’s School-Aged Child Care provider after August 1 for accurate pricing.
Secondary schools may provide creative monitoring options. These will be determined at the school level and it is recommended that parents contact their schools directly to learn more about supervisory options.
*This article was corrected to 40 early release days. The original version stated 16.
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Originally published July 21, 2015