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School board evaluates shortened academic year

"Education is alive and well," school division assistant superintendent John Hutchinson told the Gloucester County School Board Tuesday in opening his discussion on the effect of the board’s move from a 180-day to a 160-day school year for students. The change, adopted in the spring, was implemented with the start of school in September.

Reducing the time in school for students was one of the measures adopted by the board in its work to meet a $5 million reduction in state and federal funding for the current fiscal year.

The division administration expects shortening the school year to save almost $600,000 in fuel, utility and personnel costs. Hutchinson emphasized that the division was not saving above its budget, but trying to meet its budget limitations.

"Everybody’s pitching in," he said. "We’re on track to meet our budget."

Hutchinson said the division is saving 95 percent of its usual energy costs on the days when student...

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