Longer school days impacts small business

Published: Jun. 3, 2016 at 10:27 PM CDT
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Next school year kids in Wichita will be spending more time in the classroom. Last week the Wichita Teachers Union approved a longer day and shorter school year.

The school days will be 30 minutes longer and some say that will have a big impact on their business' bottom line.

Judy Naillon is a piano and violin teacher who gives private lessons, and most of her students are from the Wichita School District.

Lessons start at 4:30pm but with a 30 minute longer school day next year, it means many students will still be in class come lesson time.

"That really shortens the amount of time I can teach," Naillon said.

She could lose up to five lessons every week.

"That's a lot of income for my family," she said. "It's a pretty thin budget already as a music teacher. There's only so much time in the day, and I really feel like they're taking bread out of my mouth by doing this," she said.

Wichita mom, Nu Tran, and her three kids all take lessons with Naillon.

"Right now they come home at 4:30, we have half an hour for snacks, and we head out and go to Ms. Judy's and they have piano and violin," Tran said.

But her kids also have soccer practice, swimming, and ice skating after school.

"It's every day's activities and now everything shifts and everything has to be adjusted," Tran said.

And she's worried about how the longer day school day will impact her kids.

"My daughters will be so tired, because she's 9 and my youngest is 6.

That's a concern for Naillon, as a parent too.

"Personally having a 5 year old, I thought, wow that's a long time for her to be in school all day," Naillon said.

Both hope the state legislature is listening.

"Somebody needs to find a way to get us more money. Because what else are you going to cut next year?" Tran said.

"I really wish our state lawmakers would pay attention to how this is affecting real people and our children," Naillon said.

It's not just the schedule change Tran will have to deal with - younger kids go to Seltzer Elementary, and many of the school's bus routes will be canceled. She'll also have to figure out a way to get her kids to school.

The longer school day allows the Wichita School District to shorten the school year by 15 days, and save the district $3 million dollars.

The school board is scheduled to officially accept the calendar changes at its meeting on Monday.