Two-week spring break for SD#62

Students and teachers will have longer break in 2015

Students in School District 62 will have double the fun next spring as the district switches to a two-week spring break.

The decision to schedule the break for March 9 to 20 in 2015 was made official last week at the March 25 school board meeting.

Board chair Wendy Hobbs said trustees received a considerable amount of feedback from parents, students, staff and others. Surveys showed opinions on the change were split almost evenly.

“Obviously with a decision like this we’ve had … a couple of emails from people not happy about it,” Hobbs said. “When you’re making a decision for almost 9,000 students, you know that you’re not going to make everybody happy.”

To make up the time, both for students to learn and teachers to earn, eight minutes will be added to each school day.

District superintendent Jim Cambridge confirmed the feedback was mixed, but said the change was inevitable, as the majority of districts in B.C.  – including Greater Victoria and Saanich –have made the switch to a two-week break.

“It’s become the norm throughout the province,” he said. “It’s a little bit about the district fitting in with other districts around us.”

The change will save the district money in on-call teacher salaries and utility bills for the schools. Cambridge expects savings of about $60,000 in employee costs and $20,000 to $30,000 in utilities. Compared to SD62’s $80-million budget the savings may seem small, but the district is under budget pressure and any savings help, he said.

The change will be hard for some families who may have trouble balancing work while having children out of school.

“That can put a hardship on a family and it was one of the things (the board) really struggled with,” Cambridge said.

In the end, a comment from a student won Hobbs’ support for the move. The student said the extra week would be helpful for studying and preparing for provincial exams.

“I thought (it) was a very unique statement coming from a student, that was very relevant to us,” Hobbs said.

Cambridge said anecdotal evidence also suggests the extra week off reduces the amount of  sick days taken by both students and teachers. He said they will have to wait until next year to see if this is true.

Teachers generally supported the move, Hobbs said, but were concerned about the impact to teachers on call. To address this, Hobbs said the board has put some money aside so on-call teachers can be paid while participating in district training.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Oak Bay resident wins fight to remove tree

With St. Patrick Street tree removal, Oak Bay now aims to plant 6,401 trees

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Teen stabbed after end-of-night limo dispute in downtown Vancouver

A young man, 19, is in serious condition following a dispute between two groups

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Most Read