The proposed 2015-16 school calendar for the School District of Clintonville was voted down at the school board meeting, Monday, Dec. 8.
The calendar was then tabled until next month’s meeting.
The administration had recommended the board approve the proposed calendar. When it came time to debate the issue, board members expressed their concerns.
District Administrator Tom O’Toole told the board a new format was used for the calendar and that there was a lot of administrative discussion regarding the calendar. He added that a lot of consideration was given to the ideas and concerns brought up during a previous school board meeting.
He said the proposed calendar had the last student day of the school year scheduled to be prior to Memorial Day.
“We finally reached some sort of administrative reconciliation for the calendar,” O’Toole said.
O’Toole added that the calendar included some flexibility because 2016 is a leap year.
Even though the proposed 2015-16 calendar includes school concluding prior to Memorial Day, O’Toole said there was no guarantee that would be the case for the 2016-17 calendar.
The proposed calendar included the same number of full in-service days for teachers as the previously proposed calendar. This calendar has them in August instead of throughout the school year, O’Toole said.
Board member Pat Schley asked why so many in-service days were scheduled.
“I really question that many days of in-service,” Schley said. “I guess I’m more for quality instead of quantity.”
O’Toole said teachers had requested more time.
Schley then questioned why the in-service days were in August and not throughout the year.
Board member Jim Schultz said the district needs to look at the calendars other school districts have assembled. He said Clintonville has more school days scheduled than other districts. As a comparison, he said he looked at Shawano’s school calendar. He said their days are shorter, and they have only eight and a half in-service days.
“Is Shawano that much worse of a school than us?” Schultz asked. “… How can they do it and do a good job and we can’t?”
Schultz said the proposed calendar does not treat teachers the best.
“I’m telling you, if you let teachers go and do what they’re good at they’ll work twice as many hours, but they’ll do it on their own time,” Schultz said. “They don’t like to be told what to do.”
He added, “As a board I think it’s our responsibility to make sure we investigated this thoroughly so we’re getting the best possible use of our time and dollars. And making teachers work more days is not necessarily the best way to get more work out of them.”
Schultz said he was uncomfortable approving the calendar as it was presented.
The discussion turned to the in-service days scheduled for the beginning of August.
“There are a lot of things that are beyond what we can do in a day during the school year, which is the reason we wanted more days,” O’Toole said.
He added, “We want to treat teachers as professionals and it is a profession, and it’s not a nine month profession. If anybody in the public thinks it’s a nine month job, they’re wrong.”
O’Toole said the district could cut down on the number of days in its school year.
“What’s better for our kids, 150 days of reading instruction or 180 days of reading instruction?” O’Toole asked. “In my mind it’s bordering on the 180.”
O’Toole told the board it didn’t have to approve the calendar immediately. The administration could tinker with the calendar yet, he said.
“We’re not trying to force this down your throat tonight,” O’Toole said.
Board Clerk Jim Dins said he wanted to see more input from teachers regarding the calendar.
The proposed calendar was defeated 1-7. Board member Tom Neely voted in favor of the calendar.
A motion to postpone approving the calendar until the next school board meeting was then made and seconded. It passed 7-1 with Neely voting no.