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Schools get one week shorter

Loomis Union votes for one week off in February
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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The Loomis Union School District board of trustees, at their March 4 meeting, voted not to begin the 2010-11 school year after Labor Day, but instead approved a calendar that will give students a week off in February. While an analysis of electricity costs for August showed the district could save $15,000 to $20,000, the board was not convinced that those savings would be realized because of the extension of the school year and the loss of revenue for student absences. Michelle Dwyer has two children at Franklin Elementary School. She said she was disap-pointed with the school board’s decision. “I was hoping they’d start school later. It’s always so hot in August and we could take family vacations during that time,” she said. Board president Jim Foster said when the calendars for the district and Del Oro High School don’t closely align, many parents with students in both opt to build their vacations around the high school schedule. These parents then allow their elementary students to miss school. He said those absences can cost the district tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a school year. The Loomis Union School District was considering starting the 2010-11 school year after Labor Day in an effort to deal with its funding shortfall. Two calendar options for the upcoming school year were presented at the board meeting held at H. Clarke Powers School. One option was a post-Labor Day start and the other was to close the schools for one week during February, instead of taking two Mondays off for presidents’ birthdays. Superintendent Paul Johnson said a parent had suggested the September start idea as a cost-saving measure for the district. Johnson said when his staff analyzed the district’s electricity and gas bills, a $15,000 to $20,000 savings was found by closing the seven district schools during August when electricity is expensive and temperatures are highest. Johnson said in the past the Loomis district aligned its calendar with the Del Oro’s calen-dar by starting the fall term in mid-August. He said many families have children in both elementary and high school and it is more convenient for them to have the schedules coordinated. He said the high school’s goal is to have the semester end before the December winter break.