Calendar is now in Aspen School Board’s court |

Calendar is now in Aspen School Board’s court

ASPEN – After hours of debate at more than a half-dozen public meetings, several surveys, countless e-mails and letters, and who knows how many dinnertime discussions by Aspen families over what is the best school calendar, the issue is finally in the hands of the Aspen School Board.

“I think our hope is that with all of this information, and all of the great suggestions we have received, that we can create a school calendar that is best for our community, for our children and for our school district,” said board member Bob Glah in opening Wednesday night’s public forum.

The school board launched a discussion in the fall about potentially changing the school calendar from a traditional September-June model to one that comprises a nine-week on, two-week off schedule with a seven-week summer break, or some variation therein.

Wednesday’s meeting was yet another step in the process; it was intended as a chance for parents and community members to share new information or raise new concerns. Generally speaking, the audience respected this request, with Glah and his fellow board members taking note of new topics but shutting down debate on those that had already been raised.

Among the new issues were: what would the process be for changing the calendar back if it wasn’t successful, and who would be held accountable; how a balanced calendar meshes with college calendars; and whether the calendar issue is a singular debate or part of a “big picture” look at how the district operates.

And while this most recent public meeting was far more subdued than the standing-room-only public forum on the subject in mid-November, which drew passionate parents on both sides of the issue, the school calendar issue remains heated. More than 75 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, which lasted nearly two hours.

Now the school board will take all the information gathered since November and deliberate at its regular meeting on Monday at 4 p.m. School Board President Fred Pierce said the goal is to set a direction on the calendar at that meeting, and have a final calendar – whether it be a traditional one, a balanced one, or some type of hybrid – approved by the end of March.

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