Parents who hate the idea of year-round school have nothing to fear. But parents who like the idea may get their chance in East Valley School District.
East Valley superintendent Chuck Stocker said the district is ready to look harder at year-round school, solely for students whose parents like the idea.
Community meetings to discuss the concept are being held at 7 p.m. Jan. 18 at Trentwood and Otis Orchards elementary schools.
An earlier round of meetings was held last June. Since then, a 14-member committee has worked on the idea.
Progress from here depends on the public’s response.
If support is missing, the district will drop the idea.
“But if 20 (sets of) parents come forward with first graders, there’s a class that could start in September,” Stocker said.
More likely, the district will take up to a year to build its plans and find money. For now, this much is sure:
The year-round classes will not be held in any of the district’s school buildings. The site will be somewhere else, possibly even in the Spokane Industrial Park. That way, the new program won’t take space already being used.
The program will be self-supporting. Only the per-student enrollment money from the state would follow those students. That means the district will have to find grants and donations for the rest of the cost.
“We have no intent to cost this district extra dollars,” Stocker said.
The main benefit of year-round school, he said, is that kids retain knowledge better if they have several two- or three-week breaks during the year, rather than one 12-week summer vacation.
The district would also gain needed classroom space, as students move outside existing buildings.
If next week’s meetings show the public wants to pursue the idea, the proposal will go to the school board for its OK. Then, a new committee of parents, teachers and officials would form.
That group would have plenty to decide.
What schedule should the program use? What kinds of special programs could be held during the two-week breaks? Where’s the money? What ages should be included?
Stocker said he’s open to anything that parents want to propose - even the idea of a kindergarten through 12th-grade program, taking off on the old one-room schoolhouse.
“It’s scary and exciting all at once,” he said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HAVE AN OPINION? East Valley School District officials have scheduled two meetings on Jan. 18 get community comment on the idea of year-round school. One will be at Trentwood Elementary, 14701 E. Wellesley, and the other will be at Otis Orchards Elementary, 22000 E. Wellesley. Both meetings begin at 7 p.m.
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