The St. Clair R-XIII School District Board of Education approved a 174-day academic year for 2013-14 that closely resembles the current school calendar.
The vote was unanimous.
For the second straight year, classes will begin on a Thursday, with the 2013 date being Aug. 15. If extra snow makeup days are not needed, the last day of school should be Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
The only potential snag in the calendar is if Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposal to add six days to the school schedule becomes law. During his State of the State address in late January, Nixon called for lengthening the academic year to 180 days.
If the expansion becomes law, R-XIII Superintendent Mike Murphy said the St. Clair district will have to deal with it.
“We currently are contracted for 174 days,” he told board members during February’s board meeting. “If the governor institutes six more days, we’ll have to tack on six more days.”
Murphy said the most difficult part of that would be how to structure employee contracts, since teachers earn their salary based on the 174-day calendar.
“We will be in a wait-and-see mode,” Murphy said.
Missouri currently has the fourth-shortest school year in the nation. Nixon said adding the six additional days “will give teachers more time to work with their students and give kids more time to learn.”
Most states require 180 days in the classroom.
Murphy said the district’s calendar committee met in January to start discussing the 2013-14 calendar and originally came up with two options. The options were voted on by certified staff and paraprofessionals, and the calendar presented to and approved by the board was preferred by 81.5 percent of those surveyed.
The other option included a weeklong spring break but fewer long weekends during the second semester.
“This was the staff’s much more favorable recommendation,” Murphy said.
The approved calendar features three four-day weekends with one of them in January, one in February and one in March. Four of those days extra days off around these weekends are eligible to be used for snow makeup if needed.
The 174 days are split into a first quarter that has 43 days, a second quarter that has 43 days, a third quarter that has 45 days and a fourth quarter that has 43 days. The first three quarters end on Oct. 1, Dec. 20 and March 13.
Other notable breaks are three days around Thanksgiving, Nov. 27-29; two full weeks at Christmas; and a five-day weekend at Easter, April 17-21. The time off around Easter will not be used as snow makeup days.
Snow makeup days are Jan. 20, Feb. 14, Feb. 17 and March 17. If more days are needed, school will remain in session on May 21-22.
“There is always a great deal of discussion that goes into calendar planning,” Murphy said. “We get a lot of input with our greatest concern being what is the best benefit to our students.”
Teachers will be required to report for their first professional development days on Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8-9 and 12-13. Wednesday, Aug. 14, is an off day for everyone.
Other teacher professional development days are scheduled for Sept. 27, Jan. 17, March 14 and May 21.
Parent-teacher conferences at the junior high and high school will be Sept. 24 and 26. Those meetings are scheduled at St. Clair and Edgar Murray elementaries on Oct. 24 and 29.
High school graduation is set for Thursday, May 15.
By month, school will be in session for 12 days in August, 19 in September, 23 in October, 17 in November, 15 in December, 18 in January, 18 in February, 19 in March, 19 in April and 14 in May.
Early release days remain scheduled on Wednesdays.
Before the calendar was approved by the board, a public comment period was scheduled. No one spoke during that time.