Danville schools have had two weather-related cancellations so far this winter, and it was recently announced that those missed school days would be made up on Friday, May 29 and Monday, June 1 rather than on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents' Day.
I've noticed some parents asking on social media about why Danville kids aren't going to school on those two holidays instead of tacking the days on to the end of the school year, so I went to tonight's Danville school board meeting and asked.
Danville Community School Corporation's new superintendent, Dr. Tracey Shafer, told me that in the past, parents have made plans for the three-day weekends in January and February, and when those holidays are taken away at the last second due to weather-related cancellations, parents get upset.
He said that there are also some financial considerations in play with the corporation's 12-month employees when they have to work on national holidays.
So in an attempt to appease parents and to be fiscally responsible, the school board adjusted the 2014-15 calendar, which was approved in late 2013.
A policy was also adopted that if a weather cancellation did not occur prior to the end of the fall semester, the corporation would not use the January and February holidays as makeup days, so as to not disrupt any plans that parents may have made for the three-day weekends. Instead, any missed days are added to the end of the school calendar.
That same basic model was approved last month for the 2015-16 calendar, too.
Danville parents may also remember that kids used to have every Friday in April off school -- dates that were used as makeup days in times of need. Those April dates were removed when Fall Break was extended to an entire week.
Fall Break will be a week long in 2015, too (Oct. 12-16), and kids will go to school every Friday in April of 2016 (with the exception of April 1, which is the last day of Spring Break).
So there you have it.
Keep a few things in mind as you process this information:
The Danville school board generally meets on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in South Elementary's cafeteria. The superintendent, all of the principals, and several other school administrators attend the meetings, too.
At the end of each meeting, the board allows input from the community, so anyone has the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns. I've done it several times, and I can assure you that the board members don't bite.
The next Danville school board meeting is Monday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at South.
Can't make a meeting? You can also express concerns and ask questions of the school board via email (much more productive than blowing them up over social media). You can find their email addresses by clicking here.
(Bill Bradshaw and Scott Bess are no longer on the school board. Lacy Wooten's and Cory Mason's email addresses will be online soon, I'm sure.)
Matt Steward is the president of the school board, and it's been my experience that he is very receptive to parental feedback, even if it is in opposition to school board decisions. He won't shy away from a constructive and respectful conversation about an issue, and he'll consider all points of view. He's a good one to include in any correspondence you send.
I hope this helps folks understand why the calendar is the way it is and how to constructively express any desires for change.
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