District 518 considering calendar changeAim is to start before Labor Day WORTHINGTON — The District 518 School Board received an update Tuesday on efforts to coordinate Worthington’s academic calendar with those of other districts in southwest Minnesota.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The District 518 School Board received an update Tuesday on efforts to coordinate Worthington’s academic calendar with those of other districts in southwest Minnesota.
District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard has been meeting with area superintendents to develop a uniform calendar that could make better use of resources shared between districts and ultimately benefit students.
As an offshoot to that plan, Landgaard hopes the district can take advantage of a state law that allows for districts to adopt the calendars of their partner districts in adjoining states, providing the possibility of a pre-Labor Day start to the school year.
“If we found the schedule we like and wanted to work with a school district in some form or fashion, whether they were in Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota or North Dakota, we could adopt that calendar and start anytime,” Landgaard said.
“The issue is, there is a school that tried to do (that) and the state department said ‘no.’ … I’m not sure they have the authority to say no.”
While Landgaard investigates the legal possibility of adopting an outside district’s calendar, the district has developed two school year calendars — one that begins after Labor Day, as currently mandated by state law, and one that begins before the holiday.
If the district is allowed to change their calendar, “We’ll take a survey of some parents to figure out (whether) they agree with starting before Labor Day,” Landgaard said. “I believe most parents don’t have a problem with us starting … the last week in August.”
His stance is in keeping with the district’s 2009 Legislative Platform that states “District #518 believes that the starting day for school should be a local decision and supports removal of any restriction in this area” and “special interest groups such as the State Fair and Tourism Industry should not dictate the start of the school year.”
The platform also lists higher student achievement and energy savings as benefits to a changed school calendar.
In other business, the board Tuesday:
- Approved a first reading of Policy 430, which deals with the training of new employees.
- Exchanged committee assignments because of the potential for conflict of interest. Board Vice Chairman Brad Shaffer will now serve on the joint city/county/school board committee. Mark Shepherd, the board’s new director and the Worthington City Attorney, will serve on the Day Treatment Committee.
- Approved the purchase of two additional AED’s and a safe stop table saw through health and safety funds.
- Approved the budget calendar and assumptions for the 2009-1010 school year.
- Approved the retirement of Joyce Cooper as Custodian at the West building and the termination of Casey Morfitt as Special Education Department Head at Worthington High School (WHS).
- Approved the employment of Pat Williams as ninth-grade girls basketball coach at WHS, Mary Hill as assistant speech coach at WHS, Wayne Verdoorn as the seventh-grade boys’ basketball coach at Worthington Middle School (WMS), Julie Bucholz as the seventh-grade girls’ basketball coach at WMS, Erin Olson as Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant with special programs, Martha Hurtado as an ABE Paraprofessional with special programs, Mary Reemts as transportation paraprofessional with special programs and Lisa Schutte as special education substitute teacher at WHS.