London Schools’ 2016 spring break plans stir debate

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(Posted April 24, 2015)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

How spring break 2016 will be scheduled is yet to be determined at London City Schools.

On April 21, Superintendent Tom Ben presented a recommendation to the school board from the committee that works on the school calendar. The suggestion was to set spring break for the two days before and one day after Easter weekend.

Traditionally, the district sets aside a week for spring break. This year, that week was disrupted when the district scheduled make-up days during spring break to offset days lost due to bad winter weather.

Ben said one of the main reasons for recommending the long-weekend approach is to give students more time in the classroom right before testing begins.

“When I first came to (the district), I thought the calendar wasn’t tailored for the students. I thought it was tailored to the adults,” he said. With the increased focus on testing, he said changes were needed “to do the right thing for students.”

Board member Darryl Brown opposes the idea of splitting spring break over a weekend. He said such a split disrupts two work weeks for parents, and he predicts some families will still take more days that week for vacation time. He said the change doesn’t save enough days to make a difference in test preparation.

Marvin Homan, board president, also opposes the committee’s recommendation.

“Straddling a weekend doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said.

Homan prefers that the district maintain a full week for spring break. If not that, he said to go with an “Easter break” in which the district takes off only the Friday before Easter. He said families who celebrate Easter usually do so at home; the committee’s suggestion doesn’t leave time for families to go on a “spring break” vacation, if they so choose.

He also suggested that the district look at taking days off of the long Christmas break to stave off making up calamity days in the spring.

Ben said he would take the board’s input back to the committee. Approval of the school calendar was tabled and will be on the board’s agenda again in May.

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