School Board discusses calendar

Proposal gives every other Friday off

The plan was presented by Superintendent Brian Hanson.

"It's a dramatic change from what we have done before," Hanson said.

Hanson said that he met with many teachers and most of them told him that they just don't have enough time to plan and the late-start Mondays just don't give the teachers enough time to do what they need to do, Hanson told the board.

"They need to do more, they don't have time to talk about student achievement, what they are going to do to make kids better and design curriculum," Hanson said. "This calendar gives teachers the time and support they need."

Board President Monty Guiles said he personally liked the idea, it would help teachers plan, but wasn't sure everyone would be thrilled.

"We have working parents, so the Fridays off are going to be an issue," he said. "Personally, we would love to have a three-day weekend every other weekend, but for most families, this will be an issue."

Hanson said he hopes to get input from the community over the next month or so to see if the new calendar will be OK. The calendar is expected to be posted online this week and Hanson said parents are welcome to call or e-mail him.

So far, the calendar shows that there will be two Fridays off a month that will be used as staff days. Hanson said the school will likely offer programs, with the help of community volunteers, on Fridays for parents who need to work and don't have other plans for their children on those Fridays.

Hanson hopes to hire a parent volunteer coordinator that will help with Fridays and help get other volunteers in the schools.

School board member Wesley Rivera said she would be happy to teach a forensics class on Fridays.

Board member Chris Kloster said he has been pushing to build academic rigor up at the school and hopes that the calendar will give teachers time to do so.

"I don't know how you build rigor into instruction when you have absolutely have no time," Kloster said. "I love this (calendar), but only if the staff days are designed for teachers to hone the education in their classroom, I don't want to tie it up with other stuff."

Kloster added that he hoped the additional planning time built into the calendar would attract and keep teachers.

Board member Beverly Humiston said she liked the calendar but doesn't believe that students need a whole week off for Thanksgiving and two whole weeks off for Christmas.

Hanson said he will take feedback from parents on the calendar idea next.

Also Monday, several students approached the board, asking them to change the hat policy. Students told the board that banning hats indoors was an antiquated policy and should be changed.

Board members disagreed.

"I may be old fashioned, but, when you walk into a building you should take you hat off," Humiston told the students.

When the board and students reached an impasse, a compromise was proposed.

The students are expected to come back to the board with a compromise that may allow students to wear hats during passing time, but not in the classroom.

High school sophomore Sierra Wilson asked the board to work on increasing rigor at the high school.

"I really do feel I am not being challenged enough," she said.

She also complained about tobacco being chewed at the school.

At one point, Monday, Guiles and Humiston had a disagreement when Humiston spoke. Guiles refused to allow Humiston to speak, saying she had not been recognized.After which, Humiston said, "May I speak, your highness?"

Board members also discussed at length giving teachers raises or increasing the salary schedule. Mill levy money can be used to "recruit and retain teachers", but the board seemed at a loss on how best to do that.

"If we increase the salary schedule, in seven years, that can come back to bite us," Hanson said, because the mill levy money expires in seven years.

"I agree, except that, the mill levy was passed as a way to recruit and retain teachers, and honestly I do think we need to have a discussion about how we tip the salary schedule up on the front end," Kloster said. "It is hard to recruit a new teacher when we pay a starting salary that we pay."

Step increases were discussed as well as bonus checks. No decision was made.

"I think every teacher needs a raise," Humiston said.