School board votes to retain spring break

Juneau school kids will get spring break next year. The school board voted Tuesday night to keep the week-long March break.

Public comments have been overwhelmingly against adopting a 2012 /13 calendar that would have done away with the vacation.

Spring break comes just before standardized tests are taken, and some school district officials said students could use the additional 25 hours of instruction. That proposal also had school getting out a week earlier.

But the Southeast Gold Medal Basketball Tournament also generally happens during spring break and it’s played at Juneau-Douglas High School. If school is in session, JDHS physical education classes have to be canceled and experience shows a high number of students are absent during the week-long tournament.

Opponents also argued that spring break is a family-vacation time, it’s used by many high school students to visit colleges, and teachers and kids just need a break.

Assistant Superintendent Laury Scandling said the administration was convinced after reading 160 public comments:

“We received 130 comments in favor of retaining a spring break and 17 comments that favored not having a spring break, and the administration is recommending that calendar Option A be adopted that retains spring break in the third week of March,” Scandling told the board just before the vote.

Bridget Lloyd is the Thunder Mountain High School student representative to the school board. She conducted a survey of TMHS students on the issue.

“Twenty-two students out of 222 said they would like spring break to be canceled and 200 said no,” she said.

The 2012 / 13 academic calendar shows school beginning Monday, August 20th. It ends on Friday, May 24th, and spring break is the third week of March.

The school board is considering a proposal to end the first semester before the winter holiday break in December, rather than January, after students get back from the holidays.

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