Mt. Vernon Register-News

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February 21, 2010

D-80 close to balanced calendar

By RORYE O’CONNOR

rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon District 80 City Schools’ proposed calendar is taking steps closer to the balanced calendar format.

The proposed calendar will feature a full two-week break for Christmas, as well as an earlier Spring Break, starting March 21, due to Easter falling late in the year, said District 80 Superintendent Dr. Kevin Settle. According to the proposed calendar, students will also attend classes on Casimir Pulaski Day, a holiday celebrated the first Monday in March in Illinois.

A balanced calendar cuts summer break a little shorter and spreads the days off throughout the school year, reducing the length of both breaks and in-session days, states the National Organization for Year-Round Education Web site.

“Usually we have Spring Break backed up against Easter, but it’s so late this year,” Settle said.

The calendar as it currently proposed is very close to a balanced calendar, save an extra week of education and enrichment in the fall and spring semesters, Settle said.

“If we went to a balanced calendar, it would be basically the same, so (the current calendar) is kind of getting us used to it,” he said. “If you look at next year’s calendar, it would only be very minor changes.”

However, the move to a full balanced calendar is not an option for the district right now, because each additional week of education and enrichment would cost approximately $125,000, Settle said.

“It wouldn’t change much,” he said. “What we want to do with the weeks is extra instruction and enrichment.”

The full two-week Christmas break is something the school district has had in practice for several years, Settle said.

“A couple years ago, it made sense on the calendar to do it, so we started doing it,” he said. “The parents, the kids and the staff really like it, so we decided to continue to make it a full two weeks. Next year’s Christmas is a Saturday, but we decided to do it since everyone really liked it.”

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