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Published: Thursday, 2/6/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Perrysburg Schools eyes calendar that starts school 1 week earlier

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler and school board President Gretchen Downs support the new school calendar. Perrysburg Superintendent Tom Hosler and school board President Gretchen Downs support the new school calendar.
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Perrysburg High School students might have taken their mid-term exams in January for the last time this year and school could end a week earlier next school year, depending on possible changes to the district's calendar.

The Perrysburg Board of Education will vote this month or next on either the traditional school year calendar or a new "balanced" calendar. The proposed calendar would have school starting a week earlier, mid-term exams before winter break, and the end of school in May instead of usual first week of June. 

"I think it is good for the junior high and high school finishing the semester before break, but will be a transition for elementary (school) parents," said school board President Gretchen Downs. "High school sports start in August anyways, elementary (school) parents are used to that."

Ms. Downs favors the new calendar. She said in years past the board considered moving the school year to a week earlier, but that didn't make sense because two elementary schools did not have air conditioning so students there could have to deal with late summer heat. 

"It was already dangerously hot in September; it wasn't fair to those kids," Ms. Downs said. a "The junior high is not totally air conditioned and (that) has the potential to cause problems."

Superintendent Tom Hosler said the balanced calendar makes sense, giving students more study time before tests. Instead of starting school in the last week of August, summer break would be cut short a week and school would start in mid-August. 

"I think for the first time across the board there is more positives than negatives," Mr. Hosler said of the new calendar idea. "High schools having two weeks off and coming back to a few study days and then exams, I never got that."

Next year, the state will impose a minimum number of hours for each school district to teach, instead of requiring a set amount of days. Perrysburg had built in to its calendar plenty of extra time for allowable snow days for its junior high and high school, but not too much extra for its half-day kindergarten, so too much time off next year for snow could mean added time to the calendar for the kindergarteners.

Another reason to change the calendar next year is a state retirement benefit which requires teachers who want the benefit to retire by June 1. That could mean some teachers would leave by that time, leaving the district without some teachers for the last week of school, Mr. Hosler said. The issue affects only next year.

"Change is tough, but there is more good and that benefits than drawbacks," Mr. Hosler said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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