Schools in the Mesa Unified School District will maintain an early August start date and one-week fall and spring breaks for 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
The decision came after the district’s governing board voted 5-0 Tuesday night on the option most popular among those who gave online comments.
But the board and Superintendent Mike Cowan said that in the future the process for how the calendars are determined may be changed.
Tuesday’s vote means school will begin in early August and end the Thursday prior to Memorial Day weekend for at least the next three years. The district will also keep a one-week October break and a one-week March break, with two weeks off during the winter holidays.
These school calendars are similar to what’s in place this year and next year. The 2012-2013 school year calendar was approved in 2010.
The governing board has approved calendars in groups of two school years for at least the last 18 years. The process has also stayed the same, with the district presenting a handful of options to the public for comment prior to a vote.
But governing board president Steve Peterson asked Cowan to re-examine that for the future. Cowan agreed to come back with a recommendation on changing the process.
Cowan said in the future the process may include a list of energy-cost impacts, academic testing schedules and more.
“What we would be looking at is maybe, not so much the specific three to four choices, but focusing on what are the community values for different elements: start date, end date, end of semester (date), breaks in April and October,” he said.
Nearly 4,000 comments were collected by the district on the four calendar options prior to Tuesday night’s vote. The calendar option selected, “option a,” was most popular, with 1,260 votes, or 31.8 percent. Second choice, “option b,” which would have included a two-day fall break, was not far behind, with 1,216 votes or 30.7 percent. That type of calendar — with a two-day fall break — was last used during the 2008-2009 school year. Every year after, the district has had a one-week fall break.
Kathy Ray, president of the Mesa Education Association, which represents the district’s teachers, told the board that 44 percent of the teachers surveyed preferred “option a,” the one selected.
The second choice by teachers — with 36 percent of the vote — was to have a two-week break in both fall and spring, or “option c.” That is similar to what is done in Chandler and Queen Creek unified school districts.
To see the newly approved calendars for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years, visit www.mpsaz.org/calendars online.
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