The Southampton Board of Education voted on Tuesday night to reject a $2.6 million state grant that would have extended the school year for elementary and intermediate students by 300 hours. The decision comes less than one week after the district hosted a community forum where several parents spoke against accepting the grant, citing concerns about students being able to handle spending so much time in the classroom and whether it would detract from their time with family and friends.
At the meeting on Tuesday night, several members of the district’s Board of Education shared their concerns with the community, saying an extended day program would take considerable resources to implement by next year and expressing their doubts that the program could be sustained after the grant expires two years from now. Instead of focusing on the grant, board members opted to spend the next several months focusing on ways to close the achievement gap while working with the resources the district already has.
“This made me very concerned,” Board President Heather McCallion said of the grant. “I feel that we need our top administrators to be focused on our students now, and I don’t think I want to put off for a year what we can be accomplishing this year.”