Night school closed

Published 9:46 pm Saturday, June 12, 2010

In a move that designed to save the Suffolk Public Schools $150,000, the night alternative program has been cancelled and plans are being made to move the participating students into the daytime alternative program.

The nighttime alternative program serves students who are behind academically and those who have been removed from regular classrooms because of behavioral issues such as having weapons on campus, fighting or drugs.

School Board members discussed closing the nighttime program as a money-saving option during their budget deliberations earlier this year. But Assistant Superintendent Kevin Alston said the idea is not a new one this year.

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The night school meets at King’s Fork Middle School. Problems arise, officials said, because some teachers must be paid overtime for their service to the program and because the nighttime schedule leaves students at home during the day.

The program has served 217 students this school year, but many were able to return to their schools after displaying academic and behavioral progress. Nearly 100 students are currently attending, and many them are expected to return to their respective schools in the fall.

With the change that School Board members approved on Thursday, the program will move into Turlington Woods Alternative School, and some of the students from Turlington Woods will be moved back into their respective high schools.

Turlington Woods currently serves students with academic and behavioral issues and can accommodate up to 140 students. Approximately 80 currently attend, 60 of whom have academic issues. It also serves eighth-grade students who are failing one or two subjects.

Their move back to the high schools will require the hiring and placement of three teachers at each high school to provide additional guidance to the students and administer a period to provide specialized teaching to the students.