Southwest Allen County School Board weighs breaks in 2021-22 calendar

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By KAYLA BRENNAN
For IN|FW Newspapers

FORT WAYNE — Spring break next school year is when now?

At the Southwest Allen County School Board meeting Sept. 3, four calendars for the 2021-2022 school year were presented for the members to review.

The first three options, Superintendent Philip Downs said, reflect the request to create calendars allowing students to have a full fall break. In those renditions, it would be the first week of October.

Another accommodation the school tries to give the students is a three-weekend winter break.

“From what we are hearing, there are a lot of split families that have multiple holidays,” Downs said. “So historically, when it falls that way the kids have two full school weeks off, you end up with three weekends of potential travel time for family parties. We try to be respectful of that.”

There are five meetings before the board has to make a final decision on the calendar, but Downs wanted the board to have plenty of time to go over them and give him feedback.

“Let me know if you have any suggestions so we can adjust things and make them work,” Downs said.

The one caveat though concerns the timing of the school’s spring break.

“I did want to point out that … we had been on the same calendar as Northwest Allen, and at their last board meeting, they moved to align their break with Fort Wayne Community Schools,” Downs said. He said that would leave Southwest Allen as the only school district in the county with a break March 26 through April 2.

Downs said he is concerned that scheduling will become a problem if SACS is the only school in the county with a different spring break week.

He said the school has two options. One is that the board can vote to change the calendar to align with the rest of the county; according to the policy in place, the board would have to have a good reason to do so. Or the board can keep the calendar the same.

“We’re in a position where we may hear from some people wondering why we’re different,” Downs said. “We were different from a couple, but we weren’t different from all. But now we are different from them all because they changed.”

The calendar has been published, so the board is concerned that if they change the dates, people who have scheduled vacations and trips would have to cancel or go through the process of trying to change their accommodations.

The board tabled the decision so they could consider all options.

“I would study all of the implications,” Downs said.

The board also:

• Tabled the decision of the Construction Manager as Constructor Contract for the new Homestead High School. The maximum amount the school can spend for the total project is $169 million.

• Accepted two donations, one from Haverhill PTC in the amount of $5,000 to be used toward technology equipment, and the other from Jeannette Jaquish for $1,200 for the transportation department.