Hayden School Board keeps traditional calendar

Officials also change woodworking class to building trades but retain teacher

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— The Hayden School Board voted, 3-2, to adopt a calendar for 2011-12 that is similar to calendars of previous years.

Hayden Secondary Schools teachers presented a calendar at last month’s meeting that would have moved the start before Labor Day and added eight days with students to increase instruction time. Hayden Valley Elementary School teachers had opposed the change because it eliminated teacher workdays before the year began.

Ultimately, the School Board decided against the change this year.

“Right now, the way I see it is we couldn’t come to a cohesive decision on both sides,” School Board member Tim Frentress said. “We should keep the calendar as is.”

With Frentress, School Board members Vance Fulton and Sharon Nereson supported the traditional calendar. School Board President Brian Hoza and member Kurt Frentress opposed it.

Fulton said he had hoped the district could come up with a scenario to have separate calendars for the secondary and elementary schools.

Before the discussion, Superintendent Mike Luppes said having two calendars wasn’t desirable.

“It wouldn’t be my recommendation,” he said. “We could make it work, but it opens up avenues for issues in the future.”

A majority of the about 20 parents and teachers who attended the meeting supported keeping the calendar the same.

Parent Laurie Hallenbeck said after last month’s meeting, she had considered changing her mind to support the new calendar. But she’s not convinced the days are currently being used as well as they could be, citing light instruction on days before breaks or students returning textbooks before the last day of school.

Hallenbeck and some other parents said the district should first focus on quality of instruction before quantity.

“I want the school calendar to stay the same because I don’t think we’re using the days we have already,” she said.

After the School Board’s action, science teacher Dean Massey, who with art teacher Susan Koehler presented the new calendar option on behalf of all Secondary Schools teachers, said only that “the board’s action speaks for itself.”

Tim Frentress suggested that the district’s secondary and elementary teachers work together earlier in the school year to draft the 2012-13 calendar. Luppes said regardless of the School Board’s action, he had spoken with secondary and elementary teachers about starting to work together on the calendar next October.

Hoza said with ongoing discussions at the state level of expanding the academic year, starting the conversation now was a good exercise for Hayden.

“If we don’t extend it now, I expect we may need to in the near future,” he said.

In other action, the School Board:

■ Approved shifting the Secondary Schools’ woodworking program to building trades, but retained teacher Jeff Steinsberger. Luppes said next year would be used as a planning year for creation of the building trades program, but woodworking classes still would be available. He said they would continue to be available for middle school and high school students in the future, but the emphasis would be on courses to prepare students for careers in the construction industry.

■ Approved a draft of the 2011-12 budget, which will require about $80,000 in cuts after applying the voter-approved property tax increase of $321,522.

■ Approved the 2011-12 faculty and staff salary schedule, which provided a 1 percent increase to the schedule and step increase.

■ Decided to solicit requests for proposals for demolition of the middle school gym, which was condemned before the 2009-10 school year.

“We have to do something by this fall,” Luppes said. “There are some tremendous issues we need to address.”

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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