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Back to the classroom: Gloucester prepares for shortened school year

The 2010-2011 school year for Gloucester public school students begins Tuesday and it will be a shorter-than-usual academic session. The school year includes 160 days of instruction for students, 20 fewer days than the usual 180-day academic year.

Trimming instructional days was one cost-cutting measure taken by the Gloucester County School Board as it dealt with a $5 million fiscal year 2011 budget shortfall that was due largely to a reduction in state funding.

The shortened school year is expected to produce a $586,180 savings, about $400,000 of it from reduced compensation for bus drivers, bus assistants, teacher assistants and nurses who will work 20 fewer days. The remaining savings will be realized in reduced fuel and utility costs and reduced costs for substitute personnel. Twelve of the 20 days off are Mondays, contributing to fuel savings as school buildings shut down for three-day weekends. Some of the other days will be used to expand quarterly and mid-semester teacher...

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