Fraser Cascade school board looks at calendar options

Hendrickson opposes changing to balanced calendar model

The process to review the current school year calendar got off to a bit of a rough start last Tuesday night, when one trustee adamantly opposed any changes to the school year.

“I don’t think the citizens of Hope, Boston Bar and Agassiz have voted us in to make drastic changes,” said Trustee Tom Hendrickson.

He stated he will oppose any changes to the current school year, which has the schools close at the end of June, and re-open after Labour Day.

It’s a system that has worked “for 100 years” and still works today, he said.

But the board will have to make a decision come next spring, now that the provincial government has eliminated the standard school calendar.

Boards will now be able to determine the number and dates of days in session, vacation periods and non-instructional days.

The ministry of education will still set the minimum number of instructional hours.

Superintendent Dr. Karen Nelson brought up the subject of calendar hours at Tuesday’s board meeting, held at Agassiz elementary secondary school. While Hendrickson opposed any changes, other trustees embraced the idea.

“We are not all farmers who need the summers off anymore,” said Trustee Rose Tustian.

She expressed interest in the ‘balanced calendar’ model, which sees school in session for three months, followed by a one month break, throughout the year.

A number of other options are on the table, including remaining the same.

Nelson said that the district will look at what is being in done in Chilliwack and Abbotsford, with an effort toward being consistent.

The issue will now go to the Education Advisory Committee, and then public consultation.

“There will be public involvement,” said Trustee Al Fraser. “And it has to start somewhere, and if it starts with us, okay. This board’s job is to approve it or not approve it.”

The board must submit their 2012-2013 calendar to the ministry of education by Mar. 31, 2013 to be effective for July 1, 2013.



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