Billings schools to move back their August start date

2012-10-11T18:44:00Z 2012-10-11T22:10:41Z Billings schools to move back their August start dateBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Back-to-school will happen a week later next year after Billings School District 2's calendar committee made tweaks to its three-year school calendar on Thursday.

Despite starting a week later in August, the school year will still end in the first week of June, said Trustee Connie Wardell. To do that, the committee consolidated some partial schools days and eliminated other days off.

The committee was instructed by the school board last month to work on adjusting the calendars for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 school years so that school starts later in August.

The new calendar will go before the board on Monday for final approval.

It's a process the district goes through every three years. The committee had completed its latest round of calendars over the summer and then sent them on to the board for approval. The calendars include the start date for school each year and all the scheduled breaks.

But after the intense heat that Billings saw through much of August and after hearing from parents and teachers about classrooms that were too hot for instruction, trustees decided to look at pushing the start date back.

Eleven of the district’s 30 schools, including West High, have no type of cooling system.

Trustees liked the idea of a later start because it improves classroom conditions for students and staff and has the potential to save the district money.

A later start helps to avoid that late August heat and keeps the end of the school year in early June, when Billings is still in the midst of its spring weather and neither heaters nor coolers are needed to keep classrooms comfortable.

The shift of start dates would save the district roughly $8,692 a year, said SD2 facilities director Lew Anderson. He calculated the number by averaging the district's energy consumption during the last two weeks of August for the past four years.

"It's a good thing," Wardell said.

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