Petition calls for Blaine County School District to reopen discussion on calendar

HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Nearly 700 signatures have been collected in a petition after Blaine County School District board members approved a three-year calendar in December, raising concerns among parents.

Hailey resident Arielle Smith started an online petition on Change.Org, asking the district to revisit and open up a discussion on the school's calendar.

"We're expecting for the board to represent us and what we're asking is for them to just open up the discussion for the calendar again," Smith said.

Smith believes the calendar doesn't meet the community's needs.

"One of the other issues that we're facing, in the area that we're at a lot of the camps are not available, there's child care that's not an option yet, so parents are going to be scrambling around in May trying to figure out what to do with their kids," Smith said.

Jennifer Schwartz a concerned resident said the 2019-2020 calendar have students starting earlier compared to other years.

"We're a resort community, August is our busiest month in the Wood River Valley," Schwartz said. "You're now taking employees that businesses count on kids, teenagers, teachers who worked over the summer away from businesses."

KMVT reached out the school district for comment and a spokesperson said they are always open to public comment but at this time the board does not plan to revisit the calendar for discussion.

The three-year calendar was made up by a committee of teachers, parents and community members, they offered two options and send out a survey for the public to take part of.

Heather Crocker, Director of Communications with BCSD, said parents favored a later start date, the majority of students wanted an early start date and staff were evenly split on both calendars.

"There was a variety of opinions expressed in the survey. The survey was one piece of information that the board of trustees consider when they look at the guiding principles for school calendar," Crocker said.

Principles ranging from maximizing attendance, allowing students to participate in extra-curricular activities, sports or dual-credit courses, including closing an achievement gap between white and Hispanic students.

According to the survey conducted, overall there was a 55 percent in favor of calendar option 2, which would have students start at a later date and 44 percent were in favor of the school session starting earlier.

A Spanish survey was send out as well with 34 percent were in favor of option 2 and 66 percent were in favor of option 1.

Smith said she hopes the petition will reflect the community's effort for the district to consider revisiting the calendar.

"That is parents, that is business owners, that is the community speaking up and saying hey we're not happy what's going," Smith said.

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