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SHS student voices concern about longer school day

Not everyone is pleased with the grant-funded proposal to extend the school day at Sunnyside High School by an hour.

Freshman Meagen Meyers claims to have more than 500 SHS student signatures protesting the move to expand the school day by an hour.

Last night, Thursday, Meyers spoke during the Sunnyside School Board meeting's public comment period.

"We have concerns about the SIG (school improvement grant), about the possibility of adding an hour to the school day," Meyers told the board. "Students want input on this decision."

Board Chair Miguel Puente told Meyers he couldn't really comment on the topic since the school day issue wasn't on the board's agenda. He did note that the board wants input from students on developing a plan for the school day.

Puente also encouraged Meyers to express her concerns to Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole and high school Principal Brian Hart.

The extended school day is part of a plan the district is considering in response to a nearly $6 million grant it will receive over three years to improve graduation rates from their current level of 59 percent.

Later last night, Meyers noted students are primarily concerned about the impact an extra hour will have on after-school activities like sports and drama.

"It's a big issue," she said.

Meyers also feels the move would leave less time for homework and might actually be counterproductive in that students would be more inclined to skip classes during the school day.

Meyers, who has a 4.0 GPA, says she and other SHS students are proposing the school day be extended only for students who need help.

"It should be on a case-by-case basis," she said.

Meyers said she will meet with Cole and hopes to have the issue on the agenda for the May 27 school board meeting.

After last night's meeting, Cole said Meyers' concern is premature because the district is still working with the state on finalizing a plan to implement the federal grant money.

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