Prior to the Camp Verde Unified School District Governing Board voting on March 13 to extend the four-day school week to the 2022-23 school year, board member Helen Freeman said, “I think it’s irresponsible leadership to say we’ll do this for three years, no matter what — if it doesn’t work, we need to change it.”
Board member Kitty McDowell asked whether the board felt responsible to those families who hadn’t spoken out against altering the existing four-day school week — those whom McDowell had spoken with and expressed their children’s need for increased time in school.
“It’s pretty frustrating that we decided as a board [in February] on a four-day week and we’re still talking about it,” board member Tim Roth said. “We need to stand behind it and get to work.”
CVUSD President Christine Schneider added that the calendar would never be set in stone. Instead, it could be reevaluated annually for effectiveness. According to Schneider, the four-day school year schedule did not have to be “locked down” during the current meeting.
Nonetheless, the board rejected McDowell’s motion to keep the four-day school year schedule with an option for reevaluation next year. Freeman seconded the motion but it failed by a 3-2 vote.
Ultimately, Roth moved to extend the four-day school year schedule to the 2022-23 school year. Board member Eric Lawton seconded the motion and Schneider voted in favor. Freeman and McDowell voted nay, resulting in a 3-2 vote.
During the call to the public, five community members — including two CVUSD teachers — spoke against any measure to begin the school year in July. Four out of the five voiced a concern that an expanded year would negatively affect families.
The 2016-17 school year began Aug. 8 and extends for 150 days of attendance.
Graphic design teacher and CVUSD parent Tina Scott asserted that many parents in the community would be adversely impacted by a lengthier school year and might miss the first weeks of school due to family obligations, including shared custody.
“I’m concerned about these children,” kindergarten teacher and Lori Showers added, explaining how weather in July is too hot to expect children to ride on buses or play outside during recess. She said that the district should be more concerned about hiring good teachers than providing more time in school.
Roth moved to accept a 2017-18 school calendar that begins on Aug. 7 and extends for 151 days of attendance, an increase of one day over this year’s calendar.
In addition, an extra 15 minutes of instruction would be added to each day during the 2017-18 school year.
Lawton seconded the motion and Schneider voted in favor. Freeman and McDowell voted nay, resulting in a 3-2 vote.