BOE committee approves upcoming school calendars with few changes

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The Department of Education is one step closer to finalizing its calendars for the next two school years.

There are a few changes, but nothing that keeps kids and teachers out of the classroom during the August heat.

On Tuesday, a state Board of Education committee approved the following:

  • 2016-17: Aug. 1 to May 26
  • 2017-18: Aug. 7 to May 31

The calendars include a week of fall and spring breaks, plus two-and-a-half weeks for winter break.

2016-17 school calendar graphic

The 2018-19 calendar was also up for discussion, but the committee chose to postpone that decision.

Some parents and educators have suggested that a later start would keep kids out of the classroom during the hot summer months.

The department said it pushed the state of the school year back as much as it could without creating payroll problems.

“If teachers start any later than Aug. 1, that’s going to cause some payroll issues and we would have to negotiate something,” said Hawaii State Teachers Association negotiations chair Osa Tui Jr.

The state acknowledges the 2017-18 calendar will affect certain 10-month employees and “require adjustment of payroll during the school year 2016-17 to allow for continuous paychecks for these employees. Affected units are Bargaining Unit 6 10-month Vice Principals and Bargaining Unit 3 10-month employees including Educational Assistants.”

Officials also say changing the calendar is not a good heat abatement strategy.

“What do you say to parents, who are still pushing for that, for a later start date?” KHON2 asked DOE deputy superintendent Stephen Schatz.

“I would say the challenge here is in our hottest schools, Leeward area of all of our islands,” he said. “It’s really hot all year round, and if we start in September, September is still hot and sometimes it’s our most humid month.”

Parents told KHON2 even though the weather has cooled down, there are still reports of hot classrooms.

“Changing the calendar is not going to solve our problem,” said parent Gigi Jones. “We need to get these classrooms cooled right away.”

Last month, KHON2 told you about an internal survey from the DOE regarding calendar dates.

The DOE received 4,000 responses from a survey conducted earlier this year, and 1,300 responses from the internal survey.

The last time schools had a traditional Labor Day start to the school year was 20 years ago. Since then, more school days have been added, and professional days for teachers.

The board will give its final approval on the calendars on Oct. 20.

The recommended calendars also align with the University of Hawaii academic calendar.

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