School board considering adding spring break

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/31/99.

More than 20 parents attended the Tuesday night meeting of the Paynesville Area School Board voicing their objections to a full week of spring break for the 1999-2000 school year.

The board had two options before them on the agenda. One option included a full week of spring break in April, the other did not.

If a spring break was added to the school calendar, the last day of school would be June 6 with graduation set for June 8. If no break was included in the calendar, the last day of school would be May 31 with graduation on June 1.

Patty Stalboerger, Lake Henry, said it wasn't fair to the farmers living within the district. "June usually marks the beginning of the first crop hay season, the students would be needed at home to help," Stalboerger said.

"Once the weather gets nice, students don't concentrate on school work," she added. "Summer is too short already, by extending the school year, the school would be cutting into family time," Stalboerger said.

Board chairman Pat Flanders informed the parents that many students are already missing classes at that time of year because of various trips by classes or organizations. "By building a spring break into the school year, trips could be planned accordingly," Flanders said.

Mike Meagher expressed a concern about letting the whole school off for a week when trips only affect a small portion of the high school.

After further discussion, no decision was made concerning the calendar. Superintendent Howard Caldwell said the calendar would probably be approved at an April meeting.

Caldwell informed the board that he is hopeful the three-day issue will be resolved in the Legislature this session, making the school calendar planning easier to stay within the district teacher contract.

During the 1997 legislative session, three days were mandated to be added to the school year. Since that time, state school districts have been lobbying to have the mandate removed.

In other business:
•The board approved a new three-year contract for Caldwell. He would receive a two percent increase each year of the contract period.

•The board approved staff develop-ment guidelines for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years.

•The board approved changing the second meeting in April to April 23 at 2 p.m., enabling the board to meet with the Youth Advisory Council.

•The board approved assigning Cameron Mahlum as the seventh grade baseball coach instead of Ron Fuchs. Fuchs would like to volunteer his time to work with the varsity baseball program.

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