School district launches spring break survey

The Chilliwack school district has launched another survey to gauge residents' attitudes toward a two-week spring break.

The Chilliwack school district has accepted that the students and staff will not see a two-week spring break next year, but is keeping the option on the table for the year after.

The district is running an online survey again to gauge local opinion on the school calendar. The survey asks respondents whether they would be in favour of adding 10–15 minutes to school days to provide for a two-week break. The survey also solicits general comments on the current one-week break structure.

In January and February, 2013, the school district met with the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association and CUPE to discuss a two-week spring break. Although the stakeholders considered various options, including adding minutes to every day during the school year, they could not reach an agreement.

The current survey is in line with the district’s promise to continue exploring the issue, in order to present a two-week break option in time for the 2014/15 calendar year.

One challenge is that the 10 to15 extra minutes per day may not allow teachers to present an additional lesson, and therefore the strategy might not fully compensate for the time lost during an extended spring break.

The district conducted a similar survey last year. 78 per cent of respondents, nearly half of whom were parents, were in favour of a long break. That figure jumped to 95 per cent among teachers.

The district had a two-week break in 2010/11 to save costs, but since then has not found a structure that worked for all stakeholders. One of the largest critics of the two-week break has been CUPE, whose school staff lost a week’s pay because of it during 2010/11 year.

As of the 2013/14 school year, there will no longer be a standard school calendar in B. C. schools because of new legislation adopted in September of 2012.

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