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Spring break moved to March for Baraboo schools in 2020

February 13, 2019
McNevin

Spring break will be moved to the last week of March next year under the 2019-20 Baraboo School District calendar approved at a board meeting Monday.

Students will start school Sept. 3 and finish the year on June 5, 2020. Most vacations will fall similarly to this year, with winter break spanning the last 1½ weeks of December and the first day of January. Students will still be dismissed two hours early each Wednesday.

The biggest shift is spring break. This year, students have off April 15-19, while next year, the vacation will be March 23-27.

District Administrator Lori Mueller said district staff usually prefer March for spring break, but it worked out best to have it in April this year — the first time in the eight years Mueller has worked in Baraboo.

In order to guarantee the last day of school would be June 5, 2020, for students and June 8, 2020, for teachers, Mueller said the calendar was short a half-day of teacher work time. That time is included in teachers’ contracts, meaning they would be paid for it at a total cost of about $40,000.

She presented the school board with three options, recommending the third:

Add a teacher half-day before the school year;Give teachers the option to work a half-day on either Oct. 25 or Nov. 27, both days with no school; orDon’t require teachers to make up the four hours of lost time “with the understanding that the teachers will most likely work that time outside of regular work hours throughout the course of the school year.”

“I believe that (the third option) honors the staff feedback for the calendar and would assist with staff morale,” Mueller said.

Board member Sean McNevin objected to paying teachers for four hours they didn’t officially work.

“I just don’t know why — why start that precedent?” he asked.

Tim Heilman expressed support for the first option and McNevin moved to approve the calendar with an additional half-day of teacher work time before the school year starts. It passed unanimously.

Calendar adjustments

Mueller said the district’s leadership team intended to meet recently to decide how to make up for lost school time due to weather cancellations, “but, alas, that day was called off for school.” The team will instead develop a plan Wednesday morning, which will be shared with the board at a later meeting.

“I thought it was important that you have an update on where we are, since this is one extraordinary year,” Mueller told the board.

She said she recently learned that Wisconsin laws don’t give the governor nor the state Department of Public Instruction authority to waive school instructional time requirements for the whole state, as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz did after snow and cold shuttered schools across the Midwest for days.

Instead, the DPI has recommended districts figure out how to make up for the time themselves, Mueller said.

“It’ll be different for each building, but what we’ll try to do is come up with a plan that’s fairly consistent across all levels so it’s family friendly,” she said.

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