SD2 board approves later school year start, fund-sharing agreement

2012-11-19T22:00:00Z 2012-11-20T11:05:05Z SD2 board approves later school year start, fund-sharing agreementBy ROB ROGERS The Billings Gazette

Summer break will be a week longer.

School next August will start a week later than it did this year, trustees decided at their board meeting Monday night. 

School District 2's calendar committee, after numerous board-directed revisions, presented the new 2013-2014 proposal to the board for approval, which it gave unanimously.

School next year will start on Aug. 28.

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

The committee initially had completed its latest round of calendars over the summer. 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 school start date back.

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

A later start improves classroom conditions for students and staffers and has the potential to save the district money — possibly $8,692 a year.

The 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 calendars were approved in draft form, allowing trustees and committee members to make adjustments and involve more community input, something Trustee Pam Ellis said was lacking. 

"There were no community members on the calendar committee," Ellis said. "I think the majority (of the community) didn't have a clue."

The board directed Superintendent Terry Bouck to look at involving the district's parent committee.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to enter into a multidistrict services agreement with itself to gain access to one-time state dollars. The move will bring somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000 to SD2.

A new state law allows school districts to partner as a way to share resources and work more efficiently. SD2, which is actually two school districts divided between the elementary and high school level, had worked up an agreement to form the partnership with itself.

But earlier this fall, smaller, independent school districts around Billings — such as Elder Grove, Lockwood, Blue Creek and Canyon Creek — balked at the idea, worrying that SD2 high school tax money collected from residents in their smaller districts would end up being diverted to SD2's elementary school district.

So last month, SD2 officials met with representatives from the smaller districts and worked out an agreement that would prevent SD2 from supplanting elementary district dollars with high school funds.

"All the concerns from the outlying districts were addressed," Chairwoman Teresa Stroebe said. 

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