Wichita school board approves calendar for 2017-2018 school year

Published: Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:31 PM CDT
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Update 8 p.m. Monday: The Wichita school board voted 6-1 at its Monday night meeting to approve the calendar for the 2017-2018 school year.

For Wichita public school students, the next school year begins Aug. 23 and ends May 16.

Winter Break goes from Dec. 15 through Jan. 2 and Spring Break falls on the week of March 19.

The shorter year also will likely once again mean longer days for Wichita public school students.

"When there's still unknown about budget and what revenues might look like, the proposal tonight -- which the board moved forward with -- was to keep the same calendar we had this year," USD 259 Superintendent John Allison said after Monday's board meeting.

Wichita school board member Joy Eakins was the lone 'no' vote on next year's calendar.

"Our teachers and schools have all said it had a negative impact on student learning," she says of the shortened schedule with longer days. "Our students are saying that, our parents are saying that. So to me, it's time to step back and think about what's really the right thing."

A recent district survey found elementary school parents in particular are not happy with how late some students get home. And while the issue was not solved at Monday night's meeting, possible solutions are still on the table.

"Sometimes the answers seem simple, but the implications and repercussions can be pretty complex," Allison says.


The Wichita school board will meet Monday night to vote on the 2017-2018 calendar.

It's essentially the same as the 2016-2017 year, shorter school year, with longer school days.

But with the district's recent survey showing some dislike for kids getting home from school around 5:00, the board wants to look at options to get kids home sooner.

8:00 a.m. - 3:40 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. Those are the start and end times for most of the schools in the Wichita School District.

30 minutes longer than years past.

Board members at Monday's meeting will vote on whether to keep the longer days.

But on Friday, when the district announced the board will review and approve the 2017-2018 calendar, it also said this: "At the BOE's request, staff is continuing to study different start and end time scenarios to possibly dismiss elementary schools earlier. A decision on whether or not times will change will be made soon."

KWCH contacted the district to get more information. We were told it was still evaluating potential scenarios regarding start time, that the board is trying to listen to the community to see if anything can be done to keep elementary kids from getting out at 4:40.

One option, without specifics, have them start earlier.

But that would create other problems, If they do anything to shift the start or end time with elementary schools, that's most likely going to impact the middle and high schools as well.

Carl Miller's daughter is in middle school and does not want to see school start any earlier.

"I feel like she starts early enough as it is. She starts at 8:00 right now, so I think any earlier, for any age student, is actually crazy," said Miller.

At the same time, he says it's crazy to have kids get out at 4:40.

His solution?

"Keep the start time where it is, but shorten the end time, to like 3:30-3:45. I think that's an acceptable time to get out of school," said Miller.

And there's the district's problem. It says it's trying to listen to the community, but faces what it calls "very difficult financial circumstances due to inadequate state funding."

So we wait to see if district staff is able to come up with any options for the board to even consider.

Here are some key dates on the 2017-2018 calendar:

Enrollment: August 7 – 9

Orientation for new teachers: August 10 – 11

Inservice for all teachers: August 14 – 22

Orientation for sixth- and ninth-grade students: August 22

First day of school: August 23

Fall recess: November 21 – 24

Student Winter Recess: December 15 – January 2; Administrative Winter Recess December 18 – January 1

Spring recess: March 19 – 23

Last day of school: May 16

Monday's board meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. at North High School.