Fairfax County

The following was among actions taken at the Oct. 11 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 246-2991.

LONGER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DAY -- Superintendent Robert Spillane proposed a $5.6 million plan to end by next school year the policy of closing elementary schools early on Mondays. The plan proposes adding 128.5 teacher positions.

The board will vote on the proposal on Nov. 15.

The school day for students in first through sixth grades is currently six and a half hours long, except on Mondays, when the students are sent home two to two and a half hours early to allow teachers time to plan lessons.

Kindergarten is two hours long on Monday, an hour and fifteen minutes shorter than on other days. Under the proposal, kindergarten would be extended to three hours each day.

Not all area school systems provide such planning time for teachers, but at least two, Arlington and Prince William counties, have instituted a shorter school day to give teachers planning time.

The board voted last year to end early closings to increase class time for students and ease day-care conflicts for parents.

Under Spillane's proposal, students would spend the extra hours studying academic subjects. The school system would hire specialists to free classroom teachers of the responsibility of providing physical education and music instruction. Classroom teachers would use the time instead to plan lessons.

Spillane's proposal modifies a recent $13.4 million proposal by a citizens committee that included adding 317 teacher positions. Nevertheless, many parents and educators said they still oppose restructuring the elementary school day at a time when finances are particularly tight for the school system.