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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco School Board to try again on 2012-13 academic calendar



After two weeks to think it over, Pasco School Board members today will reconsider whether to extend Thanksgiving break to a full week in 2012.

The idea, recommended by the district's calendar committee but rejected by the superintendent's staff, led the board to delay its vote on the full 2012-13 calendar when it last met. Members said they wanted to ponder the pros — predominantly a morale issue — against the cons — including concerns that the first semester might be too short.

Leading up to the meeting, at least two board members told the Gradebook that they would like to give everyone a longer break.

Allen Altman said the opportunity might be singular, as Veterans Day falls on a weekend this year. He stressed that he hadn't made up his mind. Alison Crumbley said she also liked the concept of a full week off, similar to neighboring districts. But she made clear that her final declsion would rest on whether she felt comfortable that student learning would not be harmed in the process.

They had hoped that lawmakers might create a path toward an easier choice by adopting a bill that would change current rules that say districts may not start classes earlier than two weeks before Labor Day. (That would be Aug. 20, 2012.) But that legislation stalled in Senate committee on Tuesday morning.

Sponsor Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said the change is necessary to allow districts flexibility to complete the first semester before winter break, which usually incorporates Christmas, "so they don't have to work over the holidays and run the risk of upsetting family holidays." But Montford, who also heads the state superintendents association, said his bill "needs a little more work" and had it temporarily removed from consideration.

A House version, meanwhile, hasn't even made it to a committee hearing.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 11:32am]


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