NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- The New Albany Floyd County school board voted 6-1 Monday to keep the district's current calendar for the 2019-20 school year.
The district is finishing its fifth year with the non-traditional calendar. Students and teachers go to school the same amount of days as a school with a traditional calendar, but the breaks are broken up differently. New Albany Floyd County will have a shorter summer, students will start school at the end of July, have a two-week fall break, 10-day winter break and a two-week spring break.
The extra week for fall and spring breaks is called intersession, which is a time for students needing extra help in classes to come in for assistance. However, the intersession has not always worked as planned.
"The selling point of a balanced calendar is there are interim sessions in the spring and the fall for students who need extra help," said Becky Gardenour, the one school board member who voted against the balanced calendar. "They would come in and have that extra week. Unfortunately, there was not enough money to fund that, so we've never really had an intersession. So there's really no use for the two weeks off."
School board secretary Lee Ann Wiseheart agreed to disagree with Gardenour. She fully believes the balanced calendar is best for students and believes the district will find the funding it needs.
"We as a school board have to be unique," Wiseheart said. "We have to figure out how to allocate money and get money for those resources."
Wiseheart said several churches provide services during the intersession week to help students who need it, but since the district is state funded, it can be difficult to find extra money. Wiseheart thinks the board will have to take a hard look at programs it might be able to cut back on.
"When we at Floyd County initially voted this contract in or this calendar, that's what it was mainly about," Wiseheart said. "It was about the remediation factor so we could get those kids falling through the cracks."
Superintendent Dr. Brad Snyder said he strongly believes the district is using the right calendar.
"There's a concept called summer slide. When across a long period of no academics, kids tend to regress," Snyder said. "So we have discovered if we can balance out the instruction, they can retain more and we can grow more."
Another reason Gardenour advocates for a traditional schedule is because of the district's Prosser Career Center, which uses whatever calendar the district uses, but she said it causes problems for other school districts using the program.
"When we're open, they're closed. They're out of school. And we're in session, so it's causing a conflict for our Prosser kids," she said. "We have 10 to 12 high schools using Prosser, and I think we should be a good neighbor and all be on the same calendar, because it's all about the kids."
However, Snyder said since Prosser opened in 1968, districts have always had to adjust to whatever calendar New Albany Floyd County is on. Several districts in southern Indiana have tried out the non-traditional calendar, but some are going back to traditional, which means students going to Prosser for part of their days might have to adjust.
The school board re-visits the school calendar every year and will vote on which calendar to use for the 2020-21 school year at the end of this coming school year.
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