Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board voted Monday to stick with a school calendar similar to this year's.
The District Accountability Committee initially recommended a calendar that started earlier, ended later and included more days off in between. But the board worried the changes would not sit well with parents and instructed the committee to get more feedback.
The District Accountability Committee then put together a survey with three options and recently distributed it at parent/teacher conferences at all four Steamboat Springs School District schools.
Nearly 300 surveys were filled out by staff and parents at Strawberry Park Elementary School with overwhelming support for Option B, which was a calendar choice almost identical to this year's calendar.
However, district staff did not support Option B, and no other school supported Option B, but Strawberry Park's parental support was strong enough to give Option B more support than the other two. But not by much, which was why board member Jeff Troeger cast the lone dissenting vote Monday.
Option A, the initial calendar recommended by DAC and the one supported by staff, received 243 votes. Option C, a DAC-modified calendar, received 260 votes. Option B received 298 votes.
"What I see is two-thirds of the people unhappy with what we are doing and one school's results skewed the whole thing, which to me is interesting," Troeger said.
DAC Chair Kristin Wilson recommended the board approve Option B because it received the most support, but she wanted to reiterate to the School Board that the DAC did not feel the survey was the best tool for future calendars.
"Our intention is to develop a more comprehensive survey to be administered district-wide sometime next fall or winter," Wilson said, "and get really good feedback to make a new calendar for the fall and coming years."
Troeger agreed, but he suggested a survey be professionally conducted so the district could get the most accurate and informed information.
Parent and staff feedback was provided by Wilson.
Board member Jerry Kozatch pointed out that Blues Break, which is the February weeklong break, needs to be evaluated.
"I just wanted to mention it seemed very apparent that there was almost no support for February break," Kozatch said.
He also noted that a number of parents wanted school to start after Labor Day and for the district to limit the number of interrupted weeks of instruction. Option B includes 25 weeks of five full days of instruction, which was the least number of weeks of full instruction of the three options.
Board member John DeVincentis echoed the words of parents who asked the district, in the future, to limit the number of weeks that include parent/teacher conferences and staff development days.
Much of the concern comes at the elementary level where finding and paying for day care is an issue.
"There are nine weeks in this year's calendar and next year's calendar that are broken up with staff days and/or parent-teacher conferences. That's what everyone out there is talking about," DeVincentis said.
Every board member thanked Wilson and the DAC for the work they did on formulating the school calendar.
"For some reason the calendar is one of the toughest things you can do," board member Pat Gleason said. "Thanks for reexamining this."
(25 weeks of 5 full days of instruction)
Staff Aug. 22
Students Aug. 27
Staff June 9
Students June 6
Nov. 21 to 23
Dec. 24 to Jan. 2
Feb. 25 to 29
April 21 to 25