Committee proposes eliminating fall break

Michelle Stuckey
November 11, 2011 at 10:34 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

On Wednesday, the school district brought a proposed 2012-2013 calendar to the School Board table for consideration.

The biggest change to the calendar is the elimination of fall break, a two-day holiday that has taken place around Halloween for the past two years.

School officials say that the change is due to the presidential election on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Students will get that date off, but they would no longer have a two-day holiday in the fall.

School Board member Art Aucoin said that many residents like fall break, but the district would have had to start school earlier in order to accommodate the days off because school must be scheduled for a total of 177 days throughout the year.

In the proposed calendar, Easter holidays, or spring break, will take place for six days from March 29 through April 5. However, Regina McMillan, the public information coordinator for the district, said that those dates could change.

"We still do not have standardized testing dates, so we may have to change the Easter holiday dates," she said.

On the calendar, school will start for students on Monday, Aug. 13, a few days later than this year’s start date of Thursday. Students and teachers would still end the school year before Memorial Day weekend, with students leaving on May 23 and teachers leaving May 24.

The calendar was created based on input from a group of individuals involved with the schools including a School Board member, a representative from the business community, four principals, three teachers, two students, two parents and three central office employees. The committee members gathered information from their constituents and colleagues and met to plan out the year for students and teachers.

"The committee looks at where the dates fall into play and comes up with what their priorities are," McMillan said. "Based upon their priorities, they lay out the calendar."

Officials said that the planning committee also discussed making Christmas break longer, but ultimately decided against it. Parents who work said they would have a hard time taking care of children after New Year’s Day when they have to return to the office, meaning their child would have to go to a daycare or babysitter because school was not in session.

The district plans to email parents a survey asking what their priorities are for the calendar before approving it next month. Last year, some significant changes were made to the calendar following public input.

"It’s in the School Board’s hands now," McMillan said. "We will get public input and present the findings to the board."

School policy states that the calendar must be approved by December, but McMillan said changes can still be made next spring.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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