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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Board tables school calendar

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fred Froderman was one of three new Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees sworn in by Clay County Circuit Court Judge Joe Trout Thursday evening during the January school board meeting. The other board members sworn in included Tom Reberger and Kevin Kumpf. In addition, Jennifer Kaelber was sworn in for another term. [Order this photo]
After a work session and extensive discussion during its regular meeting, the Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees elected to table an issue regarding revising the current school year calendar.

The board began discussing the possibility of a balanced calendar in November. A balanced calendar would essentially set up shorter summers, but longer breaks through the calendar year, particularly after the conclusion of grading periods.

However, on Thursday, the board voted 4-0-2 in favor of tabling the issue until February.

During Thursday's work session, Clay Community Schools (CCS) Assistant Superintendent Tim Rayle offered results from a corporation survey it had offered on its website.

Rayle said the survey tallied more than 2,000 responses, adding the results concluded approximately 71 percent of the community favored a balanced calendar.

Rayle said through research, CCS administration concluded a balanced calendar would provide students with "higher energy levels." He also said it would reduce teacher "burnout."

However, Rayle said some of the disadvantages of going to a balanced calendar would be setting up childcare after school.

Local resident Cathy Smith also said 4-H could be heavily affected since the Indiana State Fair would be going on during the beginning of the school year. Speaking for all involved in Clay County 4-H, Smith said she believed several students would miss the first of the year due to state fair obligations.

"We're not opposed to a balanced calendar, but maybe moving those days back," Smith said. "(4-H) is a family activity that is year-round. If we can just take a look and have some flexibility. If you would just consider if you go to a balanced calendar ... think about all those kids."

CCS Superintendent Kimberly Tucker said moving to a balanced calendar would allow the flexibility to change year-to-year.

But board member Amy Burke Adams said she was concerned about some of the changes a balanced calendar would bring and wanted more input from the community.

"I want to hear from parents and teachers," Adams said.

Smith also discussed the issue of the RISE Teacher Attendance policy and how teachers did not want to miss days for various reasons.

Board member Kevin Kumpf said he had spoken with several teachers about the calendar proposal.

"I feel like most of them are indifferent," Kumpf said. "But I probably had a lot more negative (responses) than positive. Right now, I don't think teachers could be positive about anything. I know teachers love to teach, but they're not happy about RISE."

However, Adams said the policy had to be implemented since it came from the state level.

"I still want to explore a balanced calendar," she continued. "But are we ready for it? There have been a lot of changes. I think (teachers') plates are full right now."

Later in the regular session, however, the subject was brought up again as Tucker asked the board for its approval to adopt the balanced calendar proposal for the 2013-14 school year.

Tucker asked the board to either move forward with the balanced calendar or keep the standard calendar. She explained there was not a lot of time regarding the situation.

"I just don't feel like we're ready for this folks," Scherb said. "I see too many problems."

Tucker said it was possible for the board to wait one month on the issue and collect more input, but a decision had to be made at least by February.

"We can't wait until March or April," board member Tom Reberger said.

Adams again stressed she wanted to see more input from the community and possibly set up a committee of residents to discuss the issue further.

Kumpf then asked what was essentially wrong with the standard calendar.

"Is the present calendar broken?" he asked. "Does it need fixed? If not, then why try to fix it?"

"I don't want to be rushed into something," Adams added.

Scherb then motioned to delay consideration of a balanced calendar for a year, with Kumpf providing the second. However, the vote was split with a 3-3 decision. Board member Rob Miller was not present at Thursday's meeting. Reberger then motioned to table the issue until the board's February meeting and asked that Tucker present another modified balanced calendar along with the current proposal as well as having the possibility of keeping the standard calendar on the table.

Board member Fred Froderman provided the second and the board voted 4-0-2, with Scherb and Adams abstaining.

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This parent wants a balanced calendar! What is important is the EDUCATION and not the extras. I love 4-H but EDUCATION comes first. Maybe we need a whole new school board that is more in tune with the needs and wants of all instead of just a few! I am angry over this!

-- Posted by pfrench on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 6:38 PM

Congratulations, Fred. You'll be a great school board member.

-- Posted by steve47834 on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 6:39 PM

4-H IS education as well as the so called "extras" as you put it. If balanced calendar is implemented 4-H absences will NOT be marked as absent. It will be counted as educational out of class learning.

-- Posted by Ketchup on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 7:51 PM

Reading, Math, computer, history and writing as well as life skills are ALL important. I am sorry if it (and it did) sound otherwise. But I also believe that School should come before any of the extras. 4-H is an extra although a very impotant one especially in our area, I have grandchildren that love 4-H so much that is all they think about. But school not 4H should be the main concern.

-- Posted by pfrench on Sat, Jan 12, 2013, at 12:13 PM

4H is very important, particularlly to those staying on with the family farms, that should be an excused absence. But the daycare is really an issue for a lot of working moms. Daycare is very expensive and for the single moms that cant afford it what are their options. State funding is available for afterschool care. But is it available for out of school breaks, NO. the preschool kids are year round at daycare so the state will pay for that. People are working into their later years so grandmas not an option. Missing work just puts them on welfare. Summer breaks the school system furnishes daycare with supplemental financial help. Not for or against the change just stating financial hardships on parents in this community is not the anwser.

-- Posted by mamawpam on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 7:09 AM

The child care issue would be address just as it has in other communities. The current providers will fill the void and make it work for any parent or parents with financial hardships.

-- Posted by coachB on Fri, Jan 18, 2013, at 11:08 PM

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