(Posted May 21, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
London City Schools will have a five-day spring break next school year.
The school board approved the March 21-25 dates as part of the 2015-16 school calendar at its May 19 meeting.
Originally, at the April meeting, Superintendent Tom Ben presented a recommendation from the district’s calendar committee to set spring break for the two days before and one day after Easter weekend. Part of the rationale for the shorter break was to reserve more school days prior to testing weeks.
The recommendation met with opposition from board members. Darryl Brown disliked the idea of disrupting two work weeks for parents and said the change didn’t save enough days to make a difference in test preparation. Marvin Homan said families who celebrate Easter usually do so at home; the suggested break wouldn’t leave time for families to go on a true spring break vacation, if they wanted to.
Since then, Ben consulted the district’s testing coordinator, who said the state allows enough flexibility in testing schedules that taking more time off at that time of year will not be a problem.
Ben also checked to see what dates other schools in the county set for spring break. He was especially interested in the dates for Tolles Career & Technical Center. Over 50 London students attend Tolles. Ben said it made sense for them that the two schools’ breaks align.
Tolles and Jefferson Local Schools have set spring break 2016 for March 21-25. Jonathan Alder’s dates are March 21-28. Madison-Plains will be off March 23-25 and March 28.
Kristine Blind, district treasurer, proposed that the board adopt a resolution making it a board goal to maintain an unrestricted general fund cash balance equal to 60 days of general fund operating expenses. Blind said the practice would give the district funds to work with in case of unexpected expenses.
Blind’s proposal is based on a recommendation from the Government Finance Officers Association. The board approved the resolution.
Band and vocal music kudos
The board recognized the accomplishments of the district’s music programs for the year.
Highlights for instrumental music included a repeat trip to state for the marching band, which earned an excellent rating. For the first time in recent memory, the concert band qualified for state, where they earned an excellent rating.
The middle school chamber ensemble earned three superior ratings in a sanctioned Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) contest. The high school band traveled to Nashville over spring break. Also, a large number of students took part in honor bands off campus.
Several high school and middle school band and vocal music students participated in OMEA solo and ensemble judged performances. Several earned superior ratings. The high school symphonic choir, formerly the show choir, took part for the first time in four years, bringing home superior ratings and qualifying for the state competition.
Middle school vocal music students staged the musical, “Into the Woods Junior,” in November. The high school put on “Guys and Dolls” in March.
Adelle Faulkner, middle school principal, reported that the beginner band program continues to serve students well, no matter what grade they start band.
Meeting time change
The school board changed the start time for its regular monthly meetings from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The change goes into effect with the June 23 meeting. The board meets in the lecture hall at the high school.