School will start on Aug. 15 next fall for students of Lubbock Independent School District.
The Lubbock ISD school board approved the start date at its recent meeting Feb. 8 as part of the overall calendar for the 2018-19 school year. But with a vote of 4-3, the board members had some disagreement about whether to approve the calendar option that started on Aug. 15.
The board heard a report about three different calendars at a Jan. 11 meeting. The biggest difference among the calendars is the start date: Option A begins Aug. 15, Option B begins Aug. 20, and Option C begins Aug. 16. Additionally, Option A creates a professional development day on Jan. 7 after the Christmas holiday, giving students another day off, while the other two options have students back in class on Jan. 7.
Students and parents voted overwhelmingly for Option B on the survey. That option has students in school for 78,200 minutes, or 170 days, while options A and C have students in school for 79,120 minutes, or 172 days. All three options allow for more minutes than the 75,600 required by the state.
Many things are the same among the three calendars: The last day is May 24, the holidays are the same and the staff is required to be on the job for 187 days.
However, when it came time to vote on one of the options, four of the seven trustees chose to back the Lubbock ISD administration’s recommendation, Option A. That option was chosen by committee members from each campus.
Superintendent Kathy Rollo, who started her new position with the district on Feb. 1, said this year the district gained new flexibility with its calendar after adopting rules allowing it to become a district of innovation.
Trustee Zach Brady noted that about 55 percent of teachers backed Option A, but parents voted about 4-1 for Calendar B. The district, he said, needs to “grow our business and listen to our customers.”
“There’s a substantive difference between 4-1 and 55-45, and everyone knows it,” Brady said.
With 166 days in the current school year, Option A adds six days to the calendar and Option B adds four days. Brady said either option offers more days than the current calendar year.
But Trustee Mark Blankenship said the district also has to listen to its employees.
Blankenship said at the end of the day, district employees have the students’ best interests in mind.
Trustee James Arnold expressed concerns about the number and timing of professional development days on the calendars in the January meeting, and he said those concerns still bother him.
Trustee Bill Stubblefield noted that the calendar posed a difficult decision. The majority of the parents favored Option B, he said, and he often hears from parents who believe that no one cares what they want. The district should not just brush parents’ wishes aside, he said.
“It’s a matter of ethics that I believe that we have to adhere to and embrace,” Stubblefield said.
“If we’re not going to listen to parents, don’t ask ‘em,” Arnold said.
Rollo said the district will absolutely ask parents again for input on the calendar next year, but may make changes in that process.
Anna Jackson, executive director of leadership and professional development, said the district may need to find a way to identify which feeder patterns parents are located in to find out whether there are equal numbers of parents from various feeder patterns voting.
Trustees voted 4-3 to back Option A, which starts on Aug. 15, with Trustees Arnold, Brady and Stubblefield voting against the option.