The Campbell River School District will be proposing another school calendar that does not include early release days.
At the end of February the district released a preliminary calendar for the next two school years that included five early release days. They received feedback from 67 concerned parents over the issue.
“The feedback is very clear and I think it is important that we listen to the feedback and concerns of parents,” said Richard Franklin, board trustee.
The five early dismissal days that were proposed would not have decreased instructional time. Rather, the Ministry of Education allocated five more hours to professional development for school staff, compared to last year.
“There… is no loss of instructional time,” said Superintendent Tom Longridge. “It is moving the instructional time around, but it is the same instructional time as required under the act.”
In the rejected version of the calendar, the early dismissal days were on Wednesday afternoons.
Parents expressed concern, via email to the school district, over difficulty finding daycare, missing work as well as extra expenses.
“I have to say, although I am and always have been a huge supporter of professional development for teachers and finding time for professional development for teachers I understand that these are real concerns, particularly for parents of young children in Campbell River,” Franklin said. “Childcare is very difficult to find in Campbell River, even for day-to-day.”
Trustee Joyce McMann agreed, and questioned whether an hour and a half would even be useful for professional development.
“There was also concerns brought up for the ability for everyone to participate in these days, because there are people who work part time and there are [education assistant] concerns,” she said. “A number of factors that would be somewhat counter to this idea of everybody collaborating.”
Trustee John Kerr also expressed concern, saying he believes that more than the 67 parents who responded to the request for feedback probably feel similarly.
“If we do this we are going to create real issues within the community,” he said.
The motion that the board direct the superintendent to create a calendar that does not include early release days passed 5-1, with Daryl Hagen, representative of the board for the calendar and professional development committees, voting against.
“I would be really disappointed if we were to just let this go after spending quite a bit of time and energy moving towards this kind of calendar,” he said before the vote.
He tendered his resignation from the committees after the vote.
“I represented both committees and if the board is not willing to listen to those committees then perhaps another representative would do a better job in hearing back from the communities,” Hagen said.