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District puts off hourly calendars

During a recent special session of the North County Board of Education, hourly calendars were discussed by the board for a second time.

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman said the hourly calendar was something that Board Member Jerry Reed asked the board to look at and take into consideration.

“This was never going to be something we were going to do for the 2018-19 calendar,” Poorman said. “We wanted to look at the options on it and I think the discussion was blown out of the water and that we were making a change.”

Poorman said there are some options there for the board to look at and they have been checked over many times for accuracy. He added they are looking at it again to answer any questions the board may have about it.

“It’s based on an hourly calendar, rather than a day’s length calendar,” Poorman explained. “Our calendar has always been the same. I build a 175 day calendar for a 174-day year, because we have always maintained a flex day. So if something came along we had a day we could just burn and it doesn’t force us to change the calendar.”

Poorman said where they live, one day doesn’t do a lot of good, but if they got through with that day and they exercised their makeup days in the order they normally take them, then they would have an extra day to throw in for a three-day weekend or something toward a break later in the year.

“That was the intent to hold onto that extra day,” said Poorman. “I think we average six days a year that we miss. On average you are always going to miss a week. Our high average will be 11-12 and our low numbers will be four or five.”

Poorman said teachers are currently contracted for 180 days and if they shorten the calendar in the area of 168 days, they will have to put those days back in as professional development days on the calendar, so the contract length that had been issued wouldn’t change.

“The MAAA schools contract length days for teachers … Arcadia Valley is 180 days, Bismarck is 180, Central is a 185, Farmington is 184, Fredericktown is 185, North County is 180, Potosi is 182, Ste. Genevieve is 181, Valley Caledonia is 181, West County is 181 and Kingston is 180,” Poorman said. “Those are your MAAA schools and that is what they have right now. They haven’t done anything for next year.”

Poorman explained that most schools add in the extra minutes required between classes and on the lunches to eat up the time. He stressed they also add on the minutes to the end of the day and everyone knows seventh hour teachers lose the most contact time and instructional time, typically, than any other teacher.

“Looking at those things you would add those minutes onto the end,” said Poorman. “For our bus routes, beginning of the year it would push us close to 5 p.m. with the last kid getting off the bus and after we are running smoothly we will probably trim that down to 4:45 p.m. If we are really running well, probably 4:40 p.m., which is pretty late to get off the bus.”

Poorman said they don’t want to start picking kids up any earlier because the buses already leave the bus shed at 6 a.m.

Board President Kasey Jenkins asked if they went to the hourly calendar, how many days they could add before it affects next year’s calendar.

“At a point, yes, but you can add days you have to make up into the end to the calendar up to 10,” said Poorman. “You can make it up any way you want to, but you have to physically do up to 10. You have to conclude the calendar in a reasonable time so you have 121 hours instructional time or you can’t issue credit.”

Poorman wanted to be upfront about the hourly calendar and he said he is not in favor of it in any regard. He said their best interest for the students is the most contact time they can have, so any time the amount of time is reduced with the teacher, it affects the instruction of that teacher.

Reed said when they first brought this up a couple months ago he didn’t know that this would bring up so much attention. A lot of teachers jumped to the conclusion that the board was making a decision on whether or not to change how the calendar is built.

“I have no intentions of voting for anything like this right now,” said Reed. “This was because I heard some things going on at Central and some Farmington things. You hear about districts around you and you don’t want to be the last one doing something.”

Reed said they were curious about how the hourly calendars worked and wanted to have one built so they could review it. He added they are still curious if one would work for their district or not since other districts have changed over to one.

“I don’t think any of this ever meant to have the teachers feel like we were trying to go behind their back and make a decision that we didn’t want input on or anything like that,” said Reed. “That was never the intent … I do feel we should readdress it at a later time to whether or not it works for us.”

Poorman cut in and said Jeff Grapperhaus, a high school science teacher, has put out a survey and some of the other teachers have done some things too, such as talking about it like this was happening. He added they commented that they want to have some input in it because it has to do with them.

“Well the reason it hasn’t been put out there was because if there was going to be a change … I thought if we were at that point, I would do like I have done everything else and put it out there,” Poorman said. “You just asked because you heard it out of Central, even as an afterthought, you asked me to work something up just so we could see what it looks like.”

Poorman said so they built an hourly calendar the board could look at and the teachers took it and ran with it. He stressed he thinks there has been some misperception and there is no hidden agenda of any kind.

“I think for consideration of it, the only thing I have said is that I think less contact days are not an investment to the kids in my opinion,” Poorman said. “The other thing I said is I would not, I’ll have that recorded in the minutes, that I recommended against the 1,044 hour schedule if somebody approves that.”

Poorman added he would want that recorded because as soon the board got in trouble after he leaves, he doesn’t want somebody to say, “Poorman did that to us.”

Poorman said he knows everyone has been getting emails and phone calls about it, but he feels they should look at it, consider it and maybe make that adjustment in coming years rather than now.

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman, right, voices his concerns to the board about how an hourly calendar would affect the district.

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman, right, voices his concerns to the board about how an hourly calendar would affect the district.

North County Board President Kasey Jenkins, left, listens to North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman, right, explain how the hourly calendar discussion was blown out of proportion.

North County Board President Kasey Jenkins, left, listens to North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman, right, explain how the hourly calendar discussion was blown out of proportion.

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman discusses how he doesn’t approve of an hourly calendar during a recent board meeting.

North County Superintendent Dr. Yancy Poorman discusses how he doesn’t approve of an hourly calendar during a recent board meeting.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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