LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Little Rock School District has voted to extend the school day beginning in the fall for the 2023-24 school year.
The Little Rock School Board’s 9-0 decision Thursday means elementary students will start earlier and end later while middle and high school students’ day will end later, officials said.
The board agreed with Superintendent Jermall Wright who said the changes were necessary to provide more time for direct instruction of science and social studies in the elementary grades and provide enough time for buses to pick up and drop off elementary students before making second runs for the older students, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Under the change, the elementary day will go from 7:40 a.m. to 2:55 p.m., a change from the current 7:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. in place for most schools. Class for middle and high school students will start at 8:45 a.m. and go 15 minutes longer — to 4 p.m. — next year.
The newly approved plan is the result of a compromise negotiated by Wright’s administrative team and the district’s Personnel Policies Committee for the state-licensed teaching staff.
“We’re not happy with everything in here, and I don’t think Dr. Wright is happy with everything in here, but we did come to an agreement, and we hope you support it,” Teresa Knapp Gordon, a member of the Personnel Policies Committee, told board members before the vote.
Although teachers are not getting additional pay tied directly to the longer student day, they are getting pay increases for next year.
All district teachers are getting raises as a result of provisions of the Arkansas LEARNS Act. That law provides increases of at least $2,000 to all district teachers and raises the minimum teacher salary of $45,000 in Little Rock to $50,000. The district is also providing an employee retention incentive — $3,000 paid in November 2022 with another $2,000 to be paid in November 2023.