In a recent survey, Metro school families, faculty and staff gave a slight edge to a new balanced calendar for the 2012-2013 school year over a traditional calendar, meaning school would start on July 25 or Aug. 1 if one of two plans is passed.
The results, which include numbers recorded through last week’s automated telephone survey, give Director of Schools Jesse Register a last-minute boost in bolstering his case that a balanced calendar is preferable. The school board is set to vote on the matter Tuesday night.
Of 21,091 respondents, 11,201 (53 percent) preferred a balanced calendar that would shorten summer breaks but make fall and spring breaks two weeks long, while also creating “intersessions” aimed at student achievement. The remaining 9,890 (47 percent) respondents preferred a traditional calendar similar to the current one.
The telephone survey reached more than 21,000 families. Combining figures from emails and phone calls, 37 percent of those reached participated.
Of polled families, 9,317 (53 percent) preferred the balanced calendar, compared to 8,354 (47 percent) of families who preferred a traditional calendar. Metro faculty preferred the balanced calendar by a 59-41 percent margin. Staff members preferred the balanced calendar by a 53-47 percent margin.
A marginal number of people who weighed in at Metro’s customer service office preferred a traditional calendar 57 percent to 43 percent.
Two different balanced calendars are under consideration.
Register has described a scenario in which he would likely recommend the board adopt a version that would begin school on July 25 in 2012, contingent on an extra $20 million in future unidentified funding to extend the number of school days from 173 to 180 days. The proposal also has 10 days reserved for the professional development of teachers.
But his recommendation would have what he calls a “fallback” plan if the $20 million weren’t available. As a plan B, of sorts, the board would also approve a second balanced calendar that would begin school on Aug. 1, cost no additional funding, but only increase school days to 176.
If the school board opts not to approve a balanced calendar, the alternative is a traditional school calendar.