The Pleasanton school board tonight will consider extending the school year, possibly beginning classes in mid-August or as early as late July.
Currently, the year begins at the end of August. The idea to extend the year came up in discussions with other districts, including Dublin, Livermore, Sunol Glen and the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program, which provides hand-on career training.
Starting the school year in the middle of August would keep the calendar more or less aligned with the current calendar, but could end the year as early as late May. Starting in July would offer students and staff a break every nine or 10 weeks and end the year in late May or June.
Changing the calendar offers a number of advantages, according to school district representatives. The fall semester would be completed by the winter break, there would be more time to cover materials and there would be less need for review at the beginning of the school year.
Board documents also say the longer year would improve attendance, cut the number of discipline cases and offer more time for families.
Downsides include the transition from the traditional school year to the modified calendar and coordinating the year with other neighboring districts, such as the San Ramon Valley school district, which was not involved in the discussion with other districts. Any schedule change could also affect athletic and child care programs as well as staff members who have children attendng schools with a different school year.
The districts work together to coordinate school calendars, with the primary objective of matching their breaks and to coordinate the start and end of the school year.
Tonight's discussion will be the board's first look at the schedule change proposals. No action will be taken at the meeting.
But the board will take action on a new contract for the California School Employees Association. The contract includes a one-time, 1% payment for all CSEA members, along with a 1.1% bump in salaries, retroactive to July 1.
The proposed contract also includes increases in stipends and bonuses, contributions to benefit programs and health plans of just over 1% apiece. The new contract would cost the district just under $370,000 on top of the $19.1 million it spends for CSEA workers.
The board is scheduled to vote on the contract proposal at its meeting tonight, which begins at 7 p.m. in the district board room, 4665 Bernal Ave.