ROCK HALL — Kent County Public Schools is seeking feedback on the proposed 2022-23 academic calendar.

The calendar committee, which consisted of teachers, support staff, administrators and parents, met on Dec. 17 and Jan. 4 to create the proposed calendar for next year, according to the agenda for Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

An initial survey was sent out to gauge when the school year should start, how long breaks should be, if certain days should be professional development days and more.

The initial survey garnered 468 responses from parents, community members, teachers, support staff, administrators students and more, KCPS Human Resources Supervisor Dan Hushion, who led the committee, said in his presentation

Of those responses, 67.7% preferred the school year to start Sept. 6, after Labor Day. The majority, 53.2%, also preferred winter break to start on Dec. 22. Most, 63.4%, were also in favor of an extended spring break from April 7 through April 12 for students and 10-month staff; offices would reopen April 10.

“That (an extended winter and spring break) is almost nearly impossible with a post-Labor Day start,” Hushion told the board. “There’s just not enough room, enough days to play with, in a post-Labor Day start,” he said.

From that data, the committee designed two potential calendars for next school year.

Option one is a post-Labor Day start of Sept. 6. In this option, winter break would run Dec. 23 through Jan. 2 with students returning to school Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. Spring break would be from April 6 through April 10. The last day of school for students would be June 15, with a half day dismissal.

Hushion said KCPS has gone with a post-Labor Day start for the past two school years and the 2022-23 calendar would look similar to those before it.

Option two is a pre-Labor Day start of Aug. 30. In this option, winter break would run Dec. 21 through Jan. 2 with students returning to school Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. Spring break would be from April 6 through April 12. The last day of school for students would be June 15, with a half day dismissal.

Both proposed calendars have built in four inclement weather days, loosely referred to as “snow days.”

“One of the things we will have for you when we bring a final proposal forward next month is that we do intend to build in some half-days on those Wednesdays,” Hushion said, referring to Wednesdays leading up to breaks.

A survey on the two proposed calendars has been distributed using KCPS’ BrightArrow Notification System.

Nivek Johnson, newly elected by his colleagues to serve as the board’s vice president for 2022, said the option one winter break start date of Dec. 23 was “so close” to the holiday.

“You’re making a strong ask for families to travel,” Johnson said. He asked if there were other days that could be “given up” to make that break start a little earlier.

Hushion said they would try to look into making that winter break start earlier.

Board member Trish McGee, who is also the associate editor of the Kent County News, asked if there were opportunities to “take a day somewhere” if they needed to use more than the allotted four inclement weather days.

Superintendent Karen Couch said days could be taken off of spring break.

“That’s why the post-Labor Day is very difficult. There’s not much wiggle room with free days because of contractural holidays that are also built in,” Hushion said.

Couch said one of the reasons the schedule was so difficult this year was because Labor Day is “late.”

“We really tried to do everything we could on both,” Hushion said.

Board member Wendy Costa asked if schools had to let out by June 15.

Couch said no, but adding additional days on the end of the year was one way to make up for inclement weather days.

“Yeah because that’s so popular,” McGee said with a laugh.

McGee also wondered if some of the early dismissals would be changed from 90-minute dismissals to half-day dismissals for students.

Sam Buckel, the student member of the board, said he was in favor of the post-Labor Day calendar.

As of noon Monday, Jan. 10, 53.3% of respondents to the calendar survey said they preferred a pre-Labor Day start with extended winter and spring breaks.

The calendar committee plans to bring a final recommendation to the school board in February. The survey will close later this month.

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