Key changes proposed for school calendar

Wednesday's meeting of the board of directors for Hood River County School District had some new faces in the audience: members of Boy Scout Troop 282, who were there to observe the school district at work.

At the end of the meeting, one of the board members asked whether the boys had any questions, and there was only one: "Are the meetings always this long?"

"This one was actually one of the shorter ones," Supt. Charlie Beck said of the two-hour meeting.

One of the main topics under discussion was the most recent draft for the 2012-13 school calendar. As parents will learn soon, the draft under consideration has two important differences from past calendars:

Almost all holidays and teacher professional development days have been moved to Mondays, leaving at least four days a week of uninterrupted class time. Most Mondays would be one-hour release days, whether as late-start or early release it hasn't been determined.

There would be no school the three days preceding Thanksgiving, so children would have the whole week off. There would still be the same number of class days in the year; the other three days would be non-contract days and conference compensation days that were moved from a different week.

Beck said that traditionally, those three days are low-attendance days and that other districts in the state have made the same change.

The changes will mean that the school year will have 29 five-day weeks in the year, compared to 26 this year.

Parents will soon be receiving information about the proposed calendar, and an advisory survey will give them a chance to offer feedback on the changes. The board will need to have the calendar finalized by April 1.

In other business, Beck told the board that he had been invited by Cascade Locks Mayor Lance Masters and city council to attend a recent council meeting.

"It was a wonderful conversation," Beck said. "I would characterize the meeting as friendly and a positive experience.

He came away from the meeting with a list of three things that Masters said the city council asks of the school board:

Consider having a school board position specifically for Cascade Locks (which would require redistricting, Beck said);

Be willing to pay for and administer a ballot asking the citizens of Cascade Locks what they thought of moving the school district attendance area to Corbett;

Give the council a written resolution that the board always intends to have a school in Cascade Locks.

Beck said those three items will be an agenda item on an upcoming school board meeting, though not necessarily the next one.

The next regular meeting will be held March 14, 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

The Hood River County School District is interested in the community’s feedback on the 2012-2013 school calendar survey. Visit the HRCSD website at and click on the Parent Calendar Survey – 2012-2013. the deadline to fill out the survey is the end of day of Wednesday, March 7.

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