Revisiting Oak Ridge School Calendars – Traditional v. Balanced Schedule

An item on the next BOE meeting agenda (viewable here) for this Monday night’s meeting includes a discussion about changing from a hybrid school calendar to a streamlined calendar where all of our schools operate on the same schedule. The options proposed (see 2015 2016 calendar options) include either having all schools on the same traditional schedule as most are now on –or- going to what is called a “balanced schedule” of 9/2 which means nine weeks on, two weeks off and then a two month summer.

I applaud Mr. Eby (the advocate for this idea) for pushing for a more efficiently run system. However, when he attempted this a couple of years ago, the approach taken did not align with the original intent. Rather than first answering the most pertinent question to the goal of cost savings and then determining what is best for our students, no disclosure of how much either system actually costs occurred.  (Read here.)

I believe this to be a very worthwhile endeavor. I also believe that community input will be most valuable when the community is fully informed.  I have expressed those same sentiments directly to the BOE in the email pasted below.

From: Trina Baughn [mailto:trina.baughn@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 25, 2014 3:57 PM
Subject: Monday Agenda Item

BOE Members/Dr. Borchers,

Considering the financial inefficiencies and the hassles families encounter with our operating a multi-schedule school calendar, I applaud you for reconsidering streamlining our school schedules into one calendar.

Though I have personal experience with my children attending both traditional and year round schools, I do not believe that I (nor anyone) can fully develop an opinion on any option until the initial question of cost-savings is addressed. As you may recall, when you broached this subject over 2 years ago, I asked of you the following:

Have approximate total operating costs (not necessarily “savings” figures) already been provided to the board for each of these scenarios:

· Year round schedule for all OR schools? 

· Traditional schedule for all OR schools?

Unfortunately, even though 7 months was spent exploring the issue, those questions were never answered, at least not to my knowledge. I’d like to encourage you this time around to please reveal to the public (BEFORE heading down the path of discovery) the approximate operational cost of each schedule. This would include answering the questions above for the newly proposed “Balanced Schedule.”

As a parent with a child who has at least 10 more years left in Oak Ridge Schools, this issue is very important to me. And as a taxpaying citizen, full disclosure of the cost of each option is equally important.

Thank you,

Trina Baughn

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