A coalition has been formed in hopes of urging the Boise School District to keep its regular school year schedule. The Board of Trustees will consider a new calendar in the fall, which would let students out for summer vacation earlier - which also means they would return earlier too.
The school district sent a short survey out in May asking parents and staff if they would support the change in the instructional calendar. The district says 85 percent of those who responded (4,991) favored the move, but a group called "Save Idaho Summers Coalition" is fighting it.
"Not all summer days are created equal," said Tiffany Quilici, who is the spokesperson for Roaring Springs in Meridian. "We really want to preserve these last best days of summer for Idaho families."
Quilici helped start the "Save Idaho Summers Coalition."
"it's a broad base of parents, educators, associations and businesses," said Quilici.
"We are a group that is growing rapidly," said Brian Cronin, who is heading the coalition. "It's essentially asking the Boise School Board to consider other alternatives and approaches to what they seemingly want to achieve here which is end the semester earlier."
When we asked the Boise School District for a response, KTVB received a statement saying, in part, that "the proposed calendar change offers many academic benefits to our students, primarily the ability to end the semester prior to the winter break."
"That way students could take finals before holiday break instead of after," said Quilici.
The coalition has no problem with that aspect of a proposed calendar change. Again, the group says, the issue is starting the school year one week earlier.
"These activities we vigorously pursue in August like fishing, camping, paddle boarding, swimming and river rafting, these are not things you can necessarily do in May or early June," said Cronin.
Quilici adds that workers at Roaring Springs would take a big hit as well with a modified school year.
"We are the largest employer of teenagers in the Treasure Valley," said Quilici. "We have 650 employees and the opportunities for those kids here are in August and not in late May."
The proposal is far from being a done deal. The Board of Trustees will consider the 2018-2019 calendar modification during an October 9th meeting. We're told there will be much more public comment gathered before and during that meeting.
If you would like to learn more about the Save Idaho Summers Coalition click here.
Here is the 2018-2019 calendar modification proposal from the Boise School District:
• The proposed calendar change offers many academic benefits to our students, primarily the ability to end the semester prior to the Winter break.
• The survey of parents and staff members showed overwhelming support for the calendar change from every subgroup surveyed (85% support). There have been 4,991 responses to the survey. 1,706 came from Boise District staff, and 3,285 were from patrons and parents. 87% of patron/parent responses were in favor of the change, while 83% of staff responses were affirmative.
• The Board of Trustees will consider the 2018-19 calendar in October of 2017.
• We are currently in the information gathering process with regard to this proposal.
• Prior to Board consideration, District officials will gather additional input from students, staff, and parents to ascertain any concerns with particular elements of the calendar, and meet with principals and other staff to review particulars of the proposed calendar.
• The proposed change was a product of more than four months of discussion between District Administration and the Boise Education Association negotiations team members.
• We will have a webpage available soon where public comments will be accepted.
• Public comment will also be welcomed at the October 9th Board meeting.
The Boise School District's web page for public comment on the proposal is now available here.