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Monroe County School Board Approves Earlier Start Dates

Monroe County schools will start the school year earlier in 2013 based on a new calendar the Monroe County Community School Corporation board passed unanimously Tuesday.

The calendar, which applies through 2016, establishes a start date of Aug. 7 for the 2013-14 school year, Aug. 4 in the 2014-15 school year, and Aug. 3 for the 2015-16 school year. It also gives schools a full week for Thanksgiving break and a two-day fall break.

President of the Board Kelly Smith says he had his doubts, but ultimately voted for the measure. He and the other board members followed the recommendation of the committee that was tasked with examining the school calendar. That committee was made up of more than 20 parents, principals, administrators and staff.

“We gave this committee a job to do they explained to us how they did it,” Smith said. “I lived with the explanation. I accept that explanation."

Not everyone at the meeting was happy with the decision. Bloomington parent Jay Leslie, who attended the school board meeting, says he was not convinced by the committee’s arguments for the new calendar.

"They gave a big presentation about the pros, but I didn’t see any presentation for the cons and that’s wrong," he says. "The other frustration is more or less that there’s no criteria for success or failure. It’s that we’re doing this. So how do we know that it worked? And data should be a part of that, but they really won’t have any clear cut data."

Leslie says he thinks the calendar changes should be delayed for a year because of the short-notice the board is giving parents.

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