Board of education to vote on school calendar

Most respondents to an online survey are in favour of keeping the current calendar.

The board of education is considering a school calendar for 2013/14 that includes an earlier start to the school year and four 'reading breaks.'

The board of education is considering a school calendar for 2013/14 that includes an earlier start to the school year and four 'reading breaks.'

A total of 77 per cent of respondents to a school district survey have voted in favor of leaving the school calendar as it is for 2013/14.

This would involve starting school the day after Labour Day (Sept. 3, 2013) and a two-week spring break (March 17-28, 2014).

The board of education is considering a second option of having an earlier start to the school year – Tuesday, Aug. 27 – and one day added to each of the four existing long weekends (in October, November, February and May) to create a “reading break.”

The board will vote on the calendar at its regular public meeting  tonight (Tuesday, March 12). The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the school board office, 2790 Tims St.

As part of the decision-making process, the board posted a survey on the school district website.

A total of 2,214 online responses were received, with 77 per cent of respondents favouring the “status quo” option.

A “balanced calendar” task force has been formed to consider long-terms options. The committee will bring forward its recommendations to the board of education by the end of November.

Many districts have established two-week vacations to cut costs. The estimated cost savings of having schools closed in Abbotsford for an additional week is $460,000.

The Abbotsford board of education faced a public backlash in 2010 when it voted to return to a one-week spring break the following year. Trustees later reversed that decision, and the two-week holiday remained.

The board again faced a public outcry in 2011, when it proposed moving spring break from March to April to coincide with the Easter long weekend, and holding Christmas vacation later.

Trustees again voted to maintain the status quo.