Cave Creek school officials will hold a public forum next week to try to calm parents who are angry because of possible changes to class schedules.
Tacy Ashby, superintendent of the Cave Creek Unified School District, said she has been barraged by e-mails and phone calls from upset parents who have heard the district is planning to hold half-days of class once each week so teachers can have more time for professional development.
The rumor is not quite true, she said.
Earlier this fall, the district formed the Early Release Committee, a group of teachers, parents and administrators, to see if teachers needed more time for professional development, and to see how that could be accomplished.
"There has been talk for the past few years, at some schools, to weave some time into the school calendar in terms of either late starts or early releases or something," Ashby said.
But it is a preliminary step, she said, and the committee will not make any recommendations until mid-January.
"If there is a need — if — then there would be a survey to parents," she said.
Ultimately, the district’s Governing Board would have to approve any changes.
To help clear up the confusion on Thursday, Ashby decided to change the exploratory committee’s name to the Job Embedded Professional Development Committee.
While early-dismissal times might become a reality, nothing has been decided, Ashby said.
Dana Kazemi is one Cave Creek mother not in favor of any type of early-release schedule, because she does not want her two children to lose education time.
But there are other concerns, too. "I do not understand why they believe meeting during the critical hours of the day benefits anyone," she said. "This type of schedule would put hardships on working families."
She worries these parents might have no option but to take off work — or be forced to pay for after-school programs.
Meeting What: Cave Creek Unified School District forum on class schedules
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Multipurpose Room of the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 N. 60th St.