The Pleasanton school board voted Tuesday night to move forward with a survey to see what the community thinks about changing the school year calendar.
The Pleasanton Unified School District board voted unanimously to move forward with the survey, provided that a few measures be added to avoid people taking the survey multiple times.
The informational survey will be sent this week to students in grades 8-12, teachers, staff members, parents and other stakeholders via email, postcards, by posting on the school district's website, through the district's eConnection and notices placed in the Pleasanton Weekly.
Dianne Howell, interim assistant superintendent of human resources, said participants may be asked to include some sort of identifying code, such as their employee ID number or student ID number, in order to take the survey. The details of that decision were expected to be determined this week.
Howell said she would be able to provide a summarized update of responses at the board's next regular meeting in January.
The district is pursuing a community survey for changing the instructional calendar after a controversial effort to change the calendar last year.
In June 2014, the board approved a modified calendar that rescheduled the start of school for early August, with the end of school set for late May.
That decision was rescinded in January after criticism about a perceived lack of public input during the process, and the traditional calendar was reinstated. Board members did not specify whether a change to the instructional calendar will now be considered for the 2016-17 year or a future year, but it is a possibility that a new calendar could take effect as soon as fall.
"The one thing I don't want to happen is a repeat of the divisiveness and the degradation of trust the last time we did this," said board member Mark Miller, who campaigned for election to the board last year on the calendar change controversy.
The survey itself offers a variety of questions about opinions about ways the district could improve its calendar. The survey does not provide stakeholders with revised calendar options to vote upon since the survey isn't meant to be treated as a ballot, Howell said.
Decisions on what type of calendar adjustment, and a specific implementation date, will be made at future meetings with input from the community survey.
While there was discussion about not rushing the overall implementation of a new instructional calendar, three members of the district's calendar committee spoke to encourage board members to pass along the survey in the meantime.
"We need to get the survey out as soon as possible. without the survey there's no certainty if we need a new calendar," said Joshua Ott, Amador Valley junior who also serves as a student board member. "It's crucial to answer this question of what the majority wants by sending out this survey."
Also at Tuesday night's meeting, board member Jamie Hintzke was elected president for the 2016 calendar year, succeeding Valerie Arkin. Miller was elected vice president.