Usually, the Pasco School Board has approved a calendar for the coming academic year by now.
It helps parents plan their vacations and make informed school choice decisions. It helps school leaders prepare schedules and determine how many staff members they will need.
This year, however, the calendar is being held up by the district's investigation into whether to move to a four-day school week. That task force has yet to complete its work, and doesn't intend to make a presentation to the board until mid-March.
Meanwhile, phones are ringing off the hook at the district office and in some board members' homes, with parents demanding to know when school will start, how many days they might have off at Thanksgiving and if they'll be able to travel for Christmas. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino told the School Board that it's becoming problematic.
At the very least, she said, she needs to know how to respond to the parents and employees who inquire. On that, some board members agreed.
"We need to have the calendar for next year for planning purposes," School Board member Cynthia Armstrong, a former teacher, told her colleagues on Tuesday.
Task force chairman Steve Luikart said he would try to expedite the group's reporting, but added that he would not like to make a decision without all the information being available. Armstrong responded that perhaps the board should make its answer to the four-day week apply to 2013-14 instead of 2012-13 so the district can move ahead with its planning.
The rest of the board agreed to discuss that aspect of the four-day week perhaps sooner than when the task force finishes up.