District 15 Late Start, Early Release Decision Coming
The board of education will vote in April on whether students and teachers will start school later or leave early next year, one day a week, to provide for teacher enrichment time.
The District 15 school board will be voting on April 10, one day after the upcoming election, on whether students and teacher will start school late, or leave early one day a week for the 2013-2014 school year.
The additional question is, what day of the week will this change occur on?
At the March 13 school board meeting, results from a second survey taken by parents were presented by District 15.
The most popular, first choice for parents (1,479 votes) was for an early release on Friday afternoons. The next highest vote getter (885 votes) was for a late start on Mondays. The third highest, first choice, was for an early start on Mondays, with 147 votes.
Second and tertiary choices of parents also were included in this survey, which can be viewed here.
Below is how the schedule potentially, would change based on which day, and whether or not an early start or late release is implemented.
|Current Start/End Times||New Start/End Times|
|Monday Late Start||
|Wednesday Late Start||
|Friday Early Release/Dismissal||
A total of 12,236 parents responded to the survey, and the results in their entirely can be viewed here.
Though a late start on Wednesdays was not one of the most popular choices amongst D15 parents, it was presented as one of three options to be considered by the board when they take their vote.
“Wednesday late start is a favorite choice of the Classroom Teachers Council (CTC),” said Scott Thompson, District 15 superintendent.
School Board President Tim Millar said he was inclined to lean toward an early release on Fridays for his vote.
“Students [who have parents who have to be at work earlier than busing time] could not use the buses, which would be challenging for our students who need them the most,” Millar said. “We are not seeing other districts in our area doing that.”
District 15 is putting together plans to provide supervision for parents who need it for children in the mornings if late start were implemented, and the board will consider either absorbing the cost or passing the cost for supervision onto parents, Thompson said.
“Why does the CTC prefer Wednesdays? They [CTC] had thought late start Monday would be a more productive time, I think it has a huge impact on parents and families, a lot of people have preferred the Friday early dismissal,” said Scott Herr, vice president.
Board member Peggy Babcock warned of the need to understand the ramifications of the decision, which could lead to arbitration with CTC, according to Thompson.
A caveat of the negotiated terms between District 15 and the CTC is that if there is an ‘overwhelming response’ from parents against proposed schedule changes, revisions to it would be considered.
Thompson said what specifically defines an 'overwhelming response' is not spelled out in the contract.
Earlier this year, District 15 issued an initial survey was issued that drew outcry from parents, many who claimed they were not aware of it, and did not have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
An additional issue formally brought forth by parent Lisa Szczupaj during a board meeting, was that an early release on Friday afternoons was not offered as an option.
Szczupaj created a Change.org petition, and 850 others agreed that option should be included.
In response, District 15 issued the second survey, which included the early release Friday option.
Now, the board will have to consider what parents chose on the survey, and what the CTC has presented as their best option.
“For myself, it is about safety, with early release, other districts have already done this, and I feel this is the better option,” Millar said. “High school kids can be home to watch younger children, and after school programs are already in place.”
The movement to create teacher enrichment is due to increasing standards teachers will be expected to meet in the coming school year.
They include, Thompson said, adhering to Common Core Standards set by the state, to ensure students are better prepared and instruction skill of teachers are further fortified.
Whatever day and time the enrichment opportunity is voted on, it will create a dedicated 50 minutes once per week.
Thompson also said another result would be that teachers would be in the classroom more because they would not be pulled way for professional development time, as they are presently.
He added that no instruction time will be taken away from students, and over the course of the year, instruction time could actually be increased.