Because Broward “completely ignored” contract provisions that allow teachers to keep their school’s current schedule if they preferred, the district must return to the schedules it used during the 2011-12 school year, arbitrator David Weitzner ruled.
During that year, only a handful of Broward’s 29 high schools used the seven-period schedule. A dozen Broward high schools that year used the popular “block” scheduling format — students take four 90-minute class periods for one semester, and then take four different classes for the second half of the year.
Some parents favor block scheduling because it allows students to focus on just a few subjects at a time. But Superintendent Robert Runcie argued last year that switching to seven periods would help reduce school class sizes. The expected benefits were twofold: The new, more-efficient schedules would save money (allowing the district to hire more teachers) and would also create greater scheduling flexibility that could help lower class sizes.
The district made progress on class size, with more than 87 percent of classes complying with state rules in 2012-13, compared to just more than half complying the year before. Not all of those gains, however, can be attributed to the new high school schedules, as the district employed a wide variety of strategies to shrink its classes.