The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education adopted a revised school calendar on Tuesday night, with the start of school on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Earlier, the school board decided to hold the first nine weeks of school as remote learning only, starting after Labor Day. The late start followed the suggestion by the governor to delay the start of school because of the risk of COVID-19.
School will end on May 27 for students, and on May 28 for teachers, under the revised calendar, according to Matthew Andersen, interim assistant superintendent. The calendar was adopted during a Zoom meeting on Tuesday night.
The calendar committee shortened Thanksgiving break, originally a full week, to get two more days for student instruction, he said. Also, winter break, originally two full weeks off, was shortened by two days, he said.
Students will come back from winter break on Jan. 4 instead of Jan. 5.
Early release days on Wednesdays, where teachers may do planning, have been postponed for this academic year, according to Andersen.
Andersen said while there are some inclement weather days in the calendar, if in-person school is canceled that day, the district can have remote learning as an option, so as not to have to make up snow days later.
Family advocacy week was left in the revised calendar.
According to Dom DeRosa, president of the KCK-National Education Association, the calendar committee membership was half from the NEA. A survey was sent to members, and members responded they wanted to have time at the beginning of the school year for planning and learning how to teach remotely, he said.
The school calendar is generally in line with other area school districts, except for spring break, according to Andersen. Spring break is in line with Kansas City Kansas Community College’s spring break, in order that students who attend dual classes there may have the same time off, according to Andersen.
The school board also approved a measure that would allow food service and transportation workers to continue to get a normal paycheck for the first nine weeks of the school year. Their pay would come from CARES Act funding, according to administrators. It would cost an estimated $361,000.
Dennis Covington, the district’s chief financial officer, told the board members that the district’s CARES Act funding was $8.5 million, and there was still some funding left that could be spent on the transportation and service workers.
If the school district stays with remote learning longer than nine weeks, the board could reconsider whether to extend the payments for service and transportation workers, according to district officials.
Board members including Dr. Valdenia Winn and Wanda Brownlee Paige asked about other employees. Some other district positions are not being filled right now, according to district officials. Those whose positions were funded by grants are likely to be continued. If requested by the principal, some positions may be considered by the district’s hiring manager, according to officials.
Randy Lopez, board president, said the district is working on an analysis of each department and hopes to have a report on Friday of the open positions, what is needed, the number of positions and options.