March 24, 2023
Spring Has Sprung, Sort Of
Spring has sprung, sort of. As we prepare for a winter storm warning through the weekend and the promise of more snow in the coming week, we are confident that spring will eventually arrive. And as we prepare for the arrival of spring, the District is already looking ahead to the 2023-2024 school year. Preparations include the upcoming school election and the implementation of a four-day school week in 2023-2024.
The Manhattan School District will hold its Annual School Election on May 2, 2023, that will include a Trustee election and requests for technology and general fund operating levies in both the elementary and high school districts. There are two Trustee seats open this year. We have one seat in the Manhattan School District #3 and one in the Manhattan High School District #3. Incumbents Mike Swan and Ethan Severson and newcomer Melinda Yager have filed for the open seats. Mike Swan is vying for the Manhattan School District #3 seat and Ethan Severson and Melinda Yager are both vying for the lone Manhattan High School District #3 seat. The outcome of the levy elections will have a significant impact on staffing and programming in 2023-2024. WITH levies, the elementary school district, grades K-8, will experience a reduction in force of at least four teachers. The high school district will not experience a reduction in force. WITHOUT levies, the elementary district could lose as many as six teaching positions. The high school district will lose three teaching positions. With and without levies, there will be cuts to reductions to academic and extracurricular programs in the elementary district. The extent of those reductions will depend upon levies passing. The high school district will not need to reduce academic or extracurricular programs with levies passing. Without levies, some academic programs will be reduced, and some athletic programs will be cut, varsity and sub-varsity. The district is considering cutting non-conference games and limiting travel. Please take a few minutes to review the Talking Points - General Fund Operating Levy and Technology Levy.
The Manhattan School District is going to a four-day school week next year. The first day of school for students is August 28, 2023, and the last day is June 4, 2024. The school week will consist of classes Monday through Thursday. On weeks when there is a holiday falling on Monday, the school week will be Tuesday through Friday. There will be one exception, and that is President’s Day week. School leadership teams are currently developing the daily schedule. The tentative schedule is 8:05am to 3:43pm, but those times are subject to change. We will work within the timeframe of 8:00am to 4:00pm to finalize a schedule that will be shared with parents later this spring. The Manhattan School District is unable to fund student programs on Fridays. We are trying to support our families when the students aren’t in school. The District is currently working with community partners like Fay Ranches Community Foundation and Gallatin County YMCA to explore options for our younger students. However, these options will be independent of the District. We are financially unable to help with Fridays. Teachers are contracted to work one Friday a month. The District is developing a professional development plan for Friday PIR days.
All community stakeholders are invited to participate in the monthly Superintendent Advisory Council meetings, held the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30pm in the Manhattan High School Activities Room. The Superintendent Advisory Council is NOT a decision making body. The purpose of the council is to solicit input from stakeholders on matters important to the District. Input is taken into consideration to inform the decision making process. The April meeting will continue our focus on technology and general fund operating levies, specifically, reductions in cost to the elementary and high school general fund operating budgets. Decisions that will be made after the Annual School Election on May 2 will have a significant impact on our schools. This is your opportunity for input on what those decisions will be.
Brian K. Ayers, Manhattan Public Schools