School district board makes decision on new calendar

The Weiser School District Board of Trustees recently approved a new calendar for the 2022-23 school year, which will begin on Aug. 22, 2022 and end on May 24, 2023.
 The calendar approval comes on the heels of a May 23 tie-breaking vote of district trustees in favor of transitioning district schools from a traditional 5-day weekly schedule to a 4-day schedule.
 Once the decision was official, trustees were then tasked with deciding on which calendar option to adopt. They were presented with at least three different calendars with varying yearly start and end dates, and options for which day would be removed from the weekly schedule.
 Trustees made that decision based, in part, on input by stakeholders during a special meeting held Tuesday, May 31.
 “They decided on that first calendar that came out, calendar proposal No. 1,” said Weiser School District Superintendent Wade Wilson on Monday. “They wanted to see a Monday-off schedule and we brought that to them, but they ultimately decided on going with the Friday-off option.”
Wilson said that for some schools, it means an additional 50 minutes per day while others will add 55 minutes to their daily schedule.
Some details are still being worked out.
“We are thinking that we may not have to run busses commensurate with the start of the day, that much earlier,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we will need to run them 30 minutes earlier in the morning; that shouldn’t happen. The chosen calendar essentially keeps the start date and the end date of the school year the same. We floated out there a little longer school year, which this calendar is not. The one the trustees chose is the same length, which meant we had to add that 50 to 55 minutes per day to the schedule in order to maintain our instructional time.”
Wilson said the district is still working out which schools will add 50 minutes to their day and which ones will add 55 minutes.
The new calendar can be found on the district website at www.weiserschools.org.
Background
The school district first began looking into the possibility of a 4-day school week several months ago based on interest expressed by parents, teachers, and other stakeholders. Amid progressing discussions, the district launched two separate public surveys that ultimately showed that a majority of the individuals who took part were in favor of making the transition.
The first survey, conducted in April, showed that approximately 64 percent of 727 respondents were in favor of a 4-day school week, with 23 percent in favor of the traditional 5-day week, while 13 percent were undecided.
Approximately 59 percent of the 447 respondents in the second survey, launched the first week of May, were in favor of a 4-day schedule, while 34 percent were in favor a 5-day schedule. About 6 percent expressed no preference.
On May 11, the board of trustees, in a split vote, decided against the proposed 4-day school week. However, after conducting another survey, this time among teachers, the board decided to meet again, on May 23, to revisit the topic.
Following further discussion, the board once again put it to a vote, this time resulting in a tie between trustees. Trustees Melanie Price and Dr. Mark Pritchard voted against the proposal while Nancy Lazaro, who had previously voted against a 4-day week, and Jim Brush voted in favor.
As provided under district procedural policy, Weiser School District Board Chairman Justin Erickson provided the tie-breaker, voting in favor of a 4-day school week.

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