Wichita Public Schools says it’ll consider feedback from a recent public survey when it begins work on next year’s school calendar.
Last year, the district lengthened the school day by 30 minutes in order to cut 15 days from the school year to save nearly $3 million. Students now attend 158 days of school instead of 173. Teachers work 175 days instead of 190 days.
However, not everyone was happy with the changes.
Nearly 14,000 employees, parents and students responded to the district’s online survey last month.
The district says 54 percent of all respondents favor keeping the current school calendar “as-is” for next year.
The respondents said the budget savings, the extended breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the additional recess period for elementary students made the changes worthwhile.
“It’s unfortunate that finance and budget is driving this train,” Superintendent John Allison said in a statement. “Our district has made cuts to our operating budget year after year, and we are uncertain what the result of the current legislative session will be in light of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling earlier this school year.”
Elementary staff and parents had the greatest concerns with the new calendar.
They favor returning to the previous calendar format. They also want the district to reconsider the start and end time for elementary schools.
The district says, based on survey feedback, they’ll consider school day scenarios that would dismiss the elementary schools earlier than 4:40 p.m.
“We will be thoughtful and deliberate in our considerations based on the feedback, then we will make what is sure to be a difficult recommendation that allows our district to move forward with preparations for the 2017-18 school year, including development of a balanced budget, creation of building master calendars, parent notification and other beginning-of-year plans,” Superintendent Allison said.
The Board of Education is set to take up the school year calendar at its meeting next Monday.
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