Fairfax County

The following was among actions taken at the Nov. 15 meeting of the Fairfax County School Board. For more information, call 246-2991.

LONGER SCHOOL DAY -- The School Board, bowing to fiscal pressures and pressure from teachers, defeated a proposal to end the current practice of closing elementary schools 2 to 2 1/2 hours early on Mondays.

The decision means that the school day for students in the first through the sixth grades will continue to be 6 1/2 hours long, except on Mondays, when students are sent home 2 to 2 1/2 hours early to allow teachers time to plan lessons.

Kindergarten classes will remain two hours long on Monday, an hour and fifteen minutes shorter than on other days.

The board voted a year ago to end the early closing on Mondays, to increase class time for students and ease day-care problems for parents. Last month, Superintendent Robert R. Spillane proposed a $5.9 million plan to implement the longer school day that included hiring 135 art, music and physical education specialists.

Spillane's proposal died in a tie 5-to-5 vote. Many board members who voted against the plan echoed the concerns of some parents and educators that the $5.9 million plan is too expensive to undertake at a time when finances are particularly tight for the school system.

Teachers also opposed the plan, because it would have eliminated teachers' ability to collaborate on lesson plans each Monday afternoon. Instead, each teacher would have been given smaller blocks of time throughout the week to plan lessons.

About 600 teachers attended the meeting to oppose the plan.