No changes to school calendar

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Requirements that districts move to a 180-day school year delayed until 2012

By Kirsten Laskey

Gov. Bill Richardson signing a bill to delay school year and length changes put the brakes on developments of any new schedule for Los Alamos Public Schools, the board learned during its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt explained to the Monitor after the meeting that the governor signed the bill, which lifts the requirement that districts move to a 180-day school year until the 2011-2012 school year.

Schmidt added that there was not adequate time to work with the public on any proposed changes to the schedule.

Therefore, the school district will continue with the calendar and the schedule it currently operates.

The 2010-2011 school year will begin Aug. 19. Teachers will report back to school Aug. 10 and all staff will report Aug. 12. An in-service day will be held Oct. 11. Winter break will be held Dec. 20 through Dec. 31 and a second in-service day will be held March 11. Spring break will be held March 28 through April 1. The last day of school will be May 27. This calendar was approved by the board during its March 2008 meeting.

Board Vice President Joan Ahlers emphasized it would be business as usual in regards to the schedule for next year. “Everything stays the same,” she said.

A new school year also means renewing the agreement the school district has with the Family YMCA. The agreement allows the YMCA to rent school facilities for its summer camps and after-school program while the LAPS staff

receives free membership to the YMCA.

The board approved continuing this agreement, however, they also agreed to extend the agreement from two years to five years as well as modify the sentence in the agreement which states, “The agreement will be renegotiated anytime there is a major negative change to the funding formula that impacts the district.”

The board approved removing “formula” to widen the door on renegotiations.

“We’re a partnership,” Ahlers said. “We’re providing a service to the community.”

She added it was an objective to make sure both sides of the partnership are whole and can prosper.

This year, YMCA Executive Director Linda Daly said, the summer camp will be held at Mountain Elementary School. She explained the camp is typically held wherever the district holds its summer school program.

School board member Thelma Hahn asked how many students in the after-school program receive scholarships.

Daly said 17 children from 12 families are on scholarships and 14 children enrolled in the summer camp are on scholarship.

She added it is the YMCA’s policy to never turn anyone away due to inability to pay as long as there is a need and space.

Board President Melanie McKinley wondered how many of the LAPS staff use the free membership to the YMCA.

Daly said 173 staff members use the membership; in fact, she said the number had actually increased 8 percent.

McKinley also wondered about the rates for the YMCA programs. Daly said the fee is $270 a month for full-time care, five days a week.