School calendar due in new year |

School calendar due in new year

by Sharlene Irete

It’s not all the way back to the drawing board, but the committee putting the Douglas County School District calendar together for the 2007-2008 year has many things to consider before they present their final recommendation to the school board in January.

Members of the Douglas County School Board voted Tuesday to address the calendar again at the next regular meeting.

Director of Business Services Rich Alexander, who has the job of designing the school year calendar, said there’s no such thing as the happiness calendar.

“No matter what you do, one-third love it, one-third hate it and one-third don’t care,” he said. “We try to get the secondary and elementary schools aligned somewhat so parents can work on childcare and vacations. People need to plan ahead so a calendar needs to be consistent.”

The calendar committee voted to recommend a school year with one and two week spring breaks. The two separate spring break versions, with different calendars for secondary and primary schools, were presented and discussed by teachers, principals and parents at the school board meeting.

Some teachers recommended longer vacation periods to refresh themselves while others said students seem to forget what they learn during long summer breaks.

Meneley principal Brian Frazier said it is important to do the most with the instructional time given, especially as proficiency levels are raised.

“When school ends on a Monday, there are no kids at school that day – the halls are empty,” Frazier said. “We tell them, ‘We’re responsible for you being proficient, you need to be here.'”

As a result of the feedback on Tuesday, Alexander and the calendar committee were directed to meet again and review the input to try to come up with a recommendation.

“It’s the board’s decision but it’s my goal to get something by January because people are making plans. I’d like to have it finalized by the Jan. 9 meeting.”

Alexander said he doesn’t prefer to go through a calendar restructuring process on a yearly basis.

“We will recommend the board adopt a calendar for five years,” he said. “This year was temporary to study the issues to try to get a multi-year calendar. The best decision is based on the needs of the kids.”

Also in Tuesday’s meeting, the school board voted to support the proposals presented in the iNVest ’07. The resolution will be sent on to the Legislature.

The iNVest ’07 proposal was presented to state lawmakers by Nevada school superintendents Nov. 29. The more than $1 billion on the superintendents’ wish list would be a 50 percent increase in state funding for public education for the next two years.

The school district is still waiting to hear from Nevada Highway Patrol their findings about the collision of a school bus with a sports utility vehicle at the intersection of Highway 395 and Pine Nut Road on Oct. 19.