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School board reverses calendar decision


The school board reversed itself Monday night on decisions it made a month ago on calendar dates for the next school year.

The board had decided to hold school on Columbus Day and eliminate the mid-winter break next February.

This month, absent board member Ted Piccolo, who promoted the changes in January, the three members present changed everything back to the way the calendar had been presented a month ago.

Veteran teacher Sandy Hood, from the Grand Coulee Dam Middle School, told board members that both students and staff needed the mid-winter break.

“We are going at high energy January and February, and need the break,” she said.

Hood explained that students and staff are used to having the two-day late February break and use it to attend state basketball tournaments, make dental and medical appointments, and generally get re-charged for the rest of the school year.

Board members were not prepared for the reaction to the changes made to the calendar a month ago.

District officials pointed out that to hold classes on Columbus Day would require the district to pay teachers time and one-half and Public Service Employees double time, in conformance with labor contracts held with the two groups. That would come to more than $20,000.

The board was quick to extricate themselves from the problem and voted to adopt the calendar as presented in January.

With this adoption, the Grand Coulee Dam School District calendar also aligns itself better with the Nespelem School calendar, making it easier on families that have students in both districts.

“It also alleviates the added expense of reimbursing Nespelem on bus expenses when the dates between the districts don’t line up,” Superintendent Dr. Dennis Carlson noted. That cost is roughly $1,500, he told the board.

With the decision, the last day of school next year will be June 11.

Director Susan Chaffee stated that the board didn’t get very many responses when the calendar was circulated several weeks ago. Hood responded to say that when teachers looked at the calendar they thought it was okay and didn’t respond.

Wiping away the confusion, the board passed the calendar, 3-0. Members Piccolo, and Ken Stanger were absent from the meeting.

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