During its meeting Wednesday, the Sulphur Springs Union School District Governing Board is expected to approve two of the district’s upcoming school year calendars, for 2018-19 and 2019-20, that shorten the district’s fall break and better align with the William S. Hart Union High School District schedule.
Each year, the district works collaboratively with the district’s teachers association and classified association to create the calendar for the upcoming school year.
“It is a collaborative effort between the teachers’ association and our negotiating team and this is something that has been in the works for a long time,” Board President Ken Chase said. “This is the first time in a long time we’ve had two calendars approved, that will give both our teachers and our families a little heads up for planning for vacations so they can look ahead.”
A major change for the upcoming school year calendars is the shortening of the Sulphur Springs district’s fall break in October from one week to two days.
“For a few years we’ve had a fall break in October and it had created a situation where it caused a lot of lack of continuity in the calendar, especially in November since we also take a week off for Thanksgiving,” Chase said.
The shortening of the fall break will allow parents to better plan for childcare and will better align the Sulphur Springs district calendar with the Hart district calendar.
“With the help, especially of the teachers association, we were able to shorten the fall break to two days so we’re more in line with the Hart District,” Chase said. “The teachers really worked hard with us since they liked having that week off and we worked together to get a calendar with a lot more continuity.”
Chase noted that the Governing Board wanted to make this change for several years and that complications the Newhall School District experienced with its calendar earlier this year did not factor in to the board’s decision to change its fall break schedule.
“The board has wanted to go to two days for a couple years,” Chase said. “What happened with the Newhall School District kind of came up after the fact.”
In August 2017, Newhall district parents voiced concerns and protested that the Newhall district’s calendar misaligned with the Hart district’s calendar for 26 days. The parents also noted that the Sulphur Springs district misaligned with the Hart district calendar for 14 days.
At a NSD board meeting one month later, the parents expressed their concerns about the added expenses of childcare and difficulty to take family trips because of this discrepancy. They also demanded that the district alter its calendar in upcoming year.
The Governing Board is also expected to approve of an attendance waiver for the abnormal decrease in attendance during the Rye Fire Dec. 5.
The fire, which broke out near the Sulphur Springs district’s schools, caused power outages in two of the district’s schools.
These outages, as well as evacuations in the area, caused the district as a whole to see a material decrease in student attendance of 263.05 students compared to October’s attendance. Normally, average attendance throughout the district is 5,204.05 students, but on Dec. 5 the attendance was 4,941 students.
This decrease in attendance could impact revenues of the district when it factors in Average Daily Attendance (ADA), which determines funding from the state.
To remedy this attendance issue, the Governing Board is expected to send the state an attendance waiver, called a Form J13A, that allows the district to use the average ADA in place of the actual attendance Dec. 5.
This would restore the lost attendance during this day due to “circumstances beyond the district’s control.”
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