Coeur d’Alene schools will remain with five-day calendar

Coeur d’Alene schools will retain a regular five-day school calendar next year but add two hours of teacher collaboration time on Fridays.

The calendar will no longer include late starts on Mondays. Instead, the last two hours each Friday are set aside for the district’s professional learning community initiative for teachers.

In the fall, students return to class Sept. 3 and finish on June 6.

Eric Davis

“There’s a lot of misinformation, misunderstanding, rumors and maybe some assumptions that we can address and try to get cleared up,” said Eric Davis, director of human resources, during a school board meeting Monday. 

Davis emphasized the following changes:

  • All students will report to school an hour earlier on Mondays. 
  • There will be a two-hour early release on Fridays.
  • Classified staff who deal with students will experience a one-hour per week decrease in pay.
  • No classified staff personnel who deal with students will lose their benefits. 
  • There is no impact to transportation, custodial, nutrition or anybody who is a traditional classified building employee. 

“The idea that people are going to lose benefits is a misnomer. If you are an individual who is scheduled to work 30 hours with our students, and you lose an hour, that would drop you to 29 — we will find that hour for you,” Davis said.

Classified employees working 30 hours per week or more are offered employee benefits.

The district surveyed its more than 600 teachers and around 300 responded. At the elementary level, 76% favored early release Friday over Monday or had no preference; 59% of middle school educators chose Friday; and 47% of high school teachers selected Friday.

“High school has concerns about attendance,” Davis said. Those students “have a little bit more freedom and may choose not to attend, which would be something we would need to watch and keep our eyes on.”

Lesli Bjerke, the board’s vice chairperson, asked, “Did you consider another day besides Friday, because I have to tell you that Friday concerns me?”

The calendar committee did consider Wednesday but ultimately felt the mid-week choice would be disruptive to parents and not as effective for teacher collaboration. That committee included administrators, principals and teachers.

“They had kicked around Wednesday and they didn’t think it was effective during” the COVID 19 pandemic, Davis said.

The school board’s vote to retain the five-day model was unanimous.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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