Steamboat School Board approves calendar after holiday debate |

Steamboat School Board approves calendar after holiday debate

— The Steamboat Springs School Board approved the 2011-12 academic year calendar Monday night by a 4-1 vote but not before a discussion about changing the district’s holiday schedule.

School Board members discussed shortening Blues Break and moving those days to Thanksgiving break in an effort to boost attendance during a week when many students miss school anyway.

But Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said moving the days would only move the problem.

“We’ll have the same problem we have with the shortened November break,” she said, citing 85 percent student attendance that week. “Students just don’t come.”

School Board member Laura Anderson led the charge to shorten Blues Break, referencing a discussion at the February meeting in which she, board member Brian Kelly and School Board President Robin Crossan also supported the change.

“I still get frustrated that three of us agreed with the suggestion to shorten Blues Break and it’s not happening,” Anderson said. “It’s frustrating. I know it’s what the community wants, and I understand it’s not what the teachers want.”

She and Crossan voted to approve the calendar, as did Denise Connelly and Lisa Brown. Kelly opposed it.

The conversation continued after the vote.

“We’ve gotten away from what’s important for kids, what’s important to educating kids,” Crossan said. “That’s what we need to ask. What is right for kids? Not what we hear from the community or from teachers.”

Brown argued that based on the lack of public comment at the meeting, the calendar wasn’t much of an issue with the community.

“I would say evidenced by the public outcry over the current calendar, I would say we’re OK,” she said.

The 2011-12 calendar doesn’t differ from the current year calendar in any significant way.

The school year starts Aug. 25 and ends June 9, 2012, with graduation scheduled for June 4.

Students have 172 days of school.

In other action, School Board members, approved, 4-1, a capital reserve expenditure to allow Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Director Pascal Ginesta to buy a new Chevrolet Suburban at a cost of $34,390 to $36,990.

Anderson opposed the expenditure.

Ginesta said the new Suburban would replace a model year 2000 Suburban that had about 156,000 miles as of Feb. 28.

Ginesta told the School Board he would like to replace district vehicles about every 10 years or 150,000 miles.

After the School Board vote, Ginesta said he didn’t know which bid for the Suburban he would accept — $36,990 from Cook Chevrolet or $34,390 from Oklahoma-based Fleet Connection.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail

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