Board mulls adding days to the school year

by Carolina King

A major issue discussed with some debate at last week’s Ridgway School Board work session was adding to the length of the school year. Most of the board members were in favor of an increase but were uncertain whether the extra cost would be in the budget.
“Colorado has one of the lowest contact rates in the nation, and it’s not because it’s a good thing. It’s because we don’t have the money to keep schools open. Half of our school districts are operating on a four-day workweek and the research on that says that three days off is not good for kids. So we are doing a lot of things that are not good for kids because we don’t have money,” board president Greg Lawler said.
Superintendent Susan Lacy remained neutral.
“The calendar was being driven initially by learning, but more isn’t necessarily better either,” Lacy said.
“We had feedback from some teachers that maybe they couldn’t fit the curriculum in and that’s pretty concerning,” board member Heather Yeowell said.
“There are several ways that can be done and none of them will make everyone happy,” board member Tim Taplin said, suggesting there would be parents who complain wherever they tacked on the days.
Board member Cindy Lystad was interested in hearing more from teachers, parents and students. She did not agree that it was a decision the board should make on its own.
“In my opinion, this is a conversation we can go round and round about,” Lystad said. “I think this is the wrong place for this conversation to start…. I think you need parent input. I think you need student input.”
Student leadership council members Adli Gates and Ashley Medina did not like the idea, as they both agreed there are already wasted days when students are not learning any new material.
Board member Renee Marr summed up the discussion by stating the need for more input from staff and stakeholders as well as information on how extra days added to the calendar would affect the budget.

The group also discussed...

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