Community

Board sends calendar back to union

Request is made to consider no mid-winter break

The Enumclaw School Board sent the 2010-11 calendar back to the Enumclaw Education Association (EEA) asking it to come up with a calendar that doesn’t include mid-winter break.

The board was scheduled to approve the calendar at its regular meeting May 18, but found it wasn’t to at least three of its members’ liking. The board voted 3-1 to send it back. Gerd Weyer was the lone board member who supported the calendar. Board member Nancy Merrill had an excused absence from the meeting.

School Board President Cathy Dahlquist and board members Chris Van Hoof and Corey Cassell said they’ve heard loud and clear a number of times at a variety of meetings the community doesn’t favor mid-winter break.

Weyer said a handful of dissenting voices was not a conclusive group and the board should do more research before sending it back to the union.

“We’re always willing to negotiate,” said EEA President Mike Sando, who was at the meeting. He said he will find out what the union would like to consider.

Mid-winter break has been disappearing from school calendars across the state.

The proposed 2010-11 calendar presented to the board called for a mid-winter break beginning after the President’s Day holiday Feb. 22 and running through Feb. 25. It would be seven weeks after a two-week winter break and five weeks before the week-long spring break.

A full mid-winter break doesn’t meet the needs of the community or the students, Cassell said.

Van Hoof said he might favor a move, similar to other districts, to a shorter version.

In February, White River wrapped a Friday off with the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday around a weekend to provide a four-day break for students and teachers. They will continue that practice in the 2009-10 school year. The shortened mid-winter break allows for an earlier end to the school year. In White River’s case that was June 12 until snow make-up days pushed it to June 17, still before Enumclaw’s dismissal date of June 22, which also was pushed back due to weather.

The Enumclaw School Board’s decision to send the calendar back does not change the 2009-10 calendar which does include a Feb. 16 through 19 mid-winter break that begins right after Presidents’ Day Feb. 15. The last day of school for the 2009-10 school year is scheduled to be June 18.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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