Parents Unhappy With New School Calendar

Wednesday, January 16th 2008, 10:29 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public School students will head back to classes a week earlier next year. And, the decision has some parents upset. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports the calendar shift was approved a week ago, but many parents are just now finding out.

In 2007, Tulsa Public Schools students headed back to class on August 20th. In 2008, they'll start on August 11th. Some parents say that's too early and the decision was made with too little input from them.

Dana Schuler Drummond says it's been all of the buzz at the playground.

"All of a sudden a new school calendar seemed to be thrust upon us. But it wasn't on the website. No one could find it. It was just hearsay," said TPS parent Dana Schuler Drummond.

Drummond says with a little research she found out its not hearsay, but reality. Classes at TPS will begin a week earlier next August.

"A lot of people are very upset about August 11th. Traditionally, the school year has started the third week of August and now it's been moved back at least a week," said TPS parent Dana Schuler Drummond.

"I was not pleased at all. I think the time it has been has been great. We barely have summer as it is. And, I think it's so important as late as we're getting out this year for the kids to have a little time off," said TPS parent Cindy Belauste.

The new calendar was first brought up in mid-December when many people were in the dark because of the ice storm. It was approved last week.

"I had no power for eight days no TV, no internet, and I was a little concerned that something like that was passed when we had no information on it. Or anything where our opinions could have been heard," said TPS parent Cindy Belauste.

"Ironically, we were trying to make the decision sooner to allow for more planning. As opposed to January and February, when folks say 'oh, this is too late,'" said Matt Livingood of the Tulsa School Board.

Livingood says the reason for the early start is purely academic. He says it would allow high school students to take semester exams before their winter break. It would also give teachers an extra week to prepare students for state tests.

"I think it's important to provide as much days of instruction prior to accountability testing as we can," said Matt Livingood of the Tulsa School Board.

"I think the school board ought to consider looking at it again and seeking some more input. Maybe it was the best decision to make, but they didn't seek the input," said TPS parent Dana Schuler Drummond.

While the new calendar was approved January 7th, it wasn't posted online until Tuesday.

TPS pushed the start of school back a couple of years ago to save money on utility bills. At the time, they said the move saved them half a million dollars. Now, school board members say the savings can vary from year to year. But, they also think better scores on state test might be worth any added costs.

WEB EXTRA: Tulsa Public Schools 2008-2009 Calendar