While a majority of parents, teachers and students polled preferred Option A for next year’s Ketchikan School District calendar, the school board on Wednesday chose Option B.
That means students’ first day of school will be Aug. 23, rather than Aug. 30. The last day of school will be the end of May, rather than June 7.
Board President Trevor Shaw proposed Option B. He says that while almost 50 percent of those polled chose A, a little more than half preferred either B or C. And, he says, those options are fairly similar.
Option C called for an even earlier start date of Aug. 20.
Shaw says he’s happy that the district chose to gather input for this year’s calendar process. He suggests that the input could be more refined in the future.
“Instead of just the three calendars, have multiple choice of, I prefer a later start, later finish, I prefer an earlier start, earlier finish. This is how I feel about the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, this is how I feel about the day after Halloween,” he said. “Just to kind of accommodate that a little more instead of saying, ‘Here are the three options, please add your comments.’”
Board Member Diane Gubatayao questioned whether an earlier starting date would work for students with summer jobs. Student Board Member Michael Starr, though, says he asked fellow students at Ketchikan High School, and they liked the earlier start and finish.
“One specific thing someone told was, at the end of May, businesses, restaurants, stuff like that, they’re kind of reliant on their high schoolers,” he said. “But through the summer is when they kind of get their college kids that come back to town. They’re working, working. That makes the transition from that August date easier, “ because, Starr says, college kids can take over when the high schoolers head back to class.
With Matt Eisenhower dissenting, the board voted 6-1 to approve calendar Option B. But, they then made some adjustments to that calendar, based on public input. Here’s a rundown from Board President Shaw:
“I move to amend by eliminating the holiday break on Nov. 21st, move the last day of school to May 30th, and move the half-day for elementary staff from June 3rd to May 31st,” he said.
Nov. 21 is the day before Thanksgiving. Eliminating that day allows school to end one day earlier, which allows for the half-day on Friday, May 31.
That half day is a staff work day. Moving it means elementary teachers don’t have to return to work the Monday after classes are over.
That amendment and then the main motion passed 4-3 with Eisenhower, Gubatayao and Alma Parker voting no both times.
Here is a PDF of the three calendar options. Please note, it does not reflect changes approved during Wednesday’s meeting. Calendar options