Superintendent Juli Di Chiro plans to cut two days from the calendar for next school year, saving the cash-strapped district $160,000, she said Thursday.

Superintendent Juli Di Chiro plans to cut two days from the calendar for next school year, saving the cash-strapped district $160,000, she said Thursday.

Di Chiro will ask the School Board to vote Monday on the proposal, which would cut one instructional day and one in-service day from the calendar.

"We'll still meet the state minimum for instructional hours," she said, "and I think that's what's most important."

The board will vote on the proposal at its 7 p.m. meeting in the City Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

District officials are trying to close an expected $1.3 million budget gap for next academic year, due to reduced state funding and a drop in enrollment.

Di Chiro can reduce the school year by up to two days without having the approval of the teacher's or classified worker's unions, she said.

She has proposed cutting a professional development day for teachers in October and the instructional day before Thanksgiving, giving students a five-day weekend.

"That's not a day of great attendance anyway, so I don't think we'll be hurting the education students get," she said.

Di Chiro said she will consider cutting the same two days in future years, to save even more money.

If the board agrees to cut the two days, the district will still meet state requirements for hours students must spend in school, so it won't be penalized and forced to restore the days in future years, she said. The district saves money when it cuts calendar days because it doesn't have to pay teachers or most other workers on those days.

The district had a full school year this academic year, after cutting five days from the calendar for the previous two years.

Thursday was the first time Di Chiro has revealed information about how she plans to eliminate the expected budget deficit. She has yet to discuss what other cuts the district could see next academic year because administrators are still working to craft the budget. In April she will present a list of proposed cuts to the School Board.

Di Chiro said she's still trying to avoid laying off teachers, but she'll have to wait until she knows how much state funding the district will receive before she makes final decisions on the matter. State Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, and Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, told Di Chiro the legislature should determine funding levels for education by the end of this month, she said.

"I'm trying not to (lay off teachers), but we're still not at our target," she said. "It really depends on the funding level we get."

Contact reporter Hannah Guzik at 541-708-1158 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.