LA JARA — North Conejos Schools will be on a four-day calendar next year.
The matter had been discussed for a while and, on March 28, the Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously to adopt the new calendar.
In approving the change, the BOE specified that it is a one-year pilot to be re-evaluated and re-assessed at a later date relative to the positive and or negative affects on students, staff and the community.
The review will be held during the spring of 2017-2018 and a determination will be made by the BOE to either continue the four-day schedule or return to the current five-day calendar.
Superintendent Curt Wilson said two separate community presentations were offered and an open session presentation took place at a regularly scheduled BOE meeting.
In addition, a community survey, both written and online, was conducted. Wilson voiced an open invitation for community members, parents and students to meet with him and discuss it.
The superintendent explained that, briefly, it was pointed out that Fridays may see up to 30 percent of the student population absent due to extensive and increased travel for activities in districts that are already on four-day weeks, encouraging appointments to be on Friday amongst staff and students, as well as trips and other interruptions ordinarily occurring during the week being moved to Friday.
A noted demand resulting from polling in the community is increased family time.
Also important is time scheduled for staff development, school performance data interpretation to drive instruction.
Moderate fiscal savings will be seen from fewer transportation miles, decrease in bus driver salaries and reduced substitute costs.
There is also a continued shortfall of state funding via the negative factor, projected at a loss of some $1.1 million for the 2017-2018 school year, a federal decision to discontinue Secure Rural Schools (SRS) of $211,761 which has not been renewed, with TABOR restrictions being the most notable.
According to Wilson, in community and staff polling, prominent concerns expressed included increased day care costs for families still needing care on Fridays, decreased pay for classified staff, particularly custodians and cooks and adding to an already troubling summer learning loss.
A varied group of individuals throughout the district will meet to construct a calendar to be previewed and voted upon by the board.
Wilson said this document will include start and stop times. The staff in each building is working on a daily schedule.