USD 259 releases survey on school calendar changes

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Public School released results of survey regarding the extended day and shortened school year.

The new calendar went into effect this year in order to save the district nearly $3 million. It cut days and tacked on an additional 30 minutes each day to schools.

“We were able to save about 15 days so when you look at the transportation you look at the utilities that is where we came up with our savings,” said Superintendent John Allison.

Last year, the district promised to ask for feedback. Now they’re getting it.  The district said more than 14,000 people responded to the survey. It included employees, parents, and students.

“I really think that everyone is trying to make do with what they have,” said Jessica DeVader.

DeVader’s son is in elementary school and says her family can handle the change. But her biggest challenge is the traffic she faces when she picks him up after 4:40.

“The traffic I can tell, I don’t know about other people in town, but I can tell the traffic is definitely a lot worse right now at 5 o’clock,” says DeVader.

She and every other parent now waits as planning for the new calendar year continues.

“Both our staff and our parents always like to have the calendar sooner than later. For the last two years, it has been later just because we have no idea what is going to happen in Topeka.”

The school year calendar is scheduled to be discussed at a meeting Monday night. Based on survey feedback, the district will examine scenarios that would modify the start and end times of the school day in an effort to dismiss elementary schools earlier than 4:40 p.m.RELATED LINK | Survey Results

Highlights of the survey results include:

  • 54% of all respondents, including the same percentage of all staff, would keep this year’s school calendar as-is next year.
  • Only 46% of elementary certified staff would keep this year’s school calendar as-is next year, with 54% preferring to return to the calendar format we had last year.
  • Respondents disliked the shorter year, but disliked the longer day even more
  • 49% of employees, 44% of parents and 30% of students don’t feel the shorter year has had a positive impact
  • 63% of employees, 54% of parents and 47% of students and don’t feel the longer day has had a positive impact
  • The greatest level of concern about the extended day came from elementary stakeholders (staff and parents). These respondents accounted for approx. 80% of the alternative scheduling ideas recommended for consideration.
  • Overwhelmingly, the suggestions offered pertain to modifying the start/end time of the school day.
  • Of the value points presented, the $3 million in savings from the 2016-17 budget, the extended breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the additional recess period for elementary students were valued as important by the greatest number of respondents.

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