Albert Lea Schools Explore Balanced Calendar

Created: 04/29/2014 6:23 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's called a "balanced calendar" and it could send Albert Lea students back to school in early August.

"And then we would finish school a little bit earlier than we finish now. We finish before memorial day," Albert Lea Superintendent Dr. Mike Funk explained.

And in between, there would be two week breaks after every grading period ... in October, around the holidays and in March.

"During that two week break you could come in for some remediation, also provide some enrichment opportunities for kids to do something different during those breaks," Dr. Mike Funk said.

It’s a school calendar that’s earning high marks in the state of Indiana, where it’s been adopted by a number of school districts.

"With our bussing situation we're going to have to follow their schedule because it would be too expensive for us otherwise," said Sue Amundson, principal of St. Theodore’s Catholic school in Albert Lea.

If the balanced calendar is adopted by Albert Lea schools, it would also affect St. Theodore's.

“I'm concerned is their attention going to be there to focus on the lessons being learned," Sue Amundson said.

"It's still light out, so a lot of them are going to get to bed a lot later, and then getting them up in the morning is going to be a lot harder knowing they have to go to school and not go out and play."

And a balanced calendar could have an impact on members of the St. Theodore's staff who have second jobs because of a lower pay scale.

"It helps us support our income to do those jobs," principal Sue Amundson said.

Adoption of the balanced calendar still depends on approval from the Albert Lea school board and a waiver from the state.

“If we do anything at all like this it would be for the 2015-16 school year," Dr. Mike Funk explained.

In March, school leaders brought together about 30 stakeholders from around the community to present the "balanced calendar" proposal.

Those stakeholders will give their feedback to school officials at 7 o'clock Tuesday night at Brookside school.

Public comment meetings are expected to be scheduled later.

Photo: ABC 6 News