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School seeks public opinion

Danie Harrelson

— The Hayden School Board will take public comment tonight on a plan to lengthen the school calendar.

The Hayden School District wants input about adding a few more days to the 2002-2003 school year to give teachers more opportunities for training.

Hayden Superintendent Scott Mader previously said the additional three or four days for new and veteran teachers would provide more time for teachers and administrators to look into issues that arise during the school year.

The board will discuss the idea of an extended school year after it receives feedback from the meeting.

Members could either take action on the proposal tonight or hold off on making a decision, school board member Patty Bruchez said.

Board member Brian Hoza said he hoped a decision could be reached soon to allow the district adequate time to move forward on creating its calendar for next year.

Next fall may seem far away, but people should keep in mind that the end of the school comes quickly, he added.

“We don’t want to hurry up the process, but we do want to be diligent about taking some measures to find a solution that sits well with all parties involved,” Hoza said.

Board President Kurt Frentress said the board was aware of past resistance to the idea of extending the school year past Memorial Day or starting the school year before Labor Day.

“People have been very adamant about us changing the calendar before,” Frentress said. “This is an issue that gets a lot of reaction from teachers and parents.”

The last time the district ran on an extended calendar was in the mid-1980s, before it went to a modified four-day school week in 1987 to cut school operating costs to deal with a loss of revenue. When the district returned to a five-day school week, it kept the shrunken calendar, which now traditionally begins after Labor Day and ends before Memorial Day.

Board members and administrators stressed an extended school year would not affect the number of days students attend school but instead offer more opportunities for teacher in-service days.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the board meeting room.


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