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Bonneville School District considers year-round school

Bonneville School District considers year-round school

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho - Bonneville School District 93 may be going to year-round schools. Wednesday was the first regular board meeting since a bond failed in March. Even if the bond had passed, the district would still need to do something in the time it took to build the new schools. The board is considering options to get through to 2018, when they hope to have a new high school and new middle school built, assuming a bond passes in the near future.

In fall 2013, D93 conducted a parent survey with several options for solutions to overcrowding. Parents favored year-round school over a split-session option.

"Any option you have there will be cost: split sessions there will be cost, year round school there will be cost. If we do year-round school, we probably need to provide air conditioning in our high schools schools so that they can go in the summer months," said Marjean McConnell, deputy superintendent for D93.

Students would attend trimesters on different tracks, so some would get a regular summer. Others may have their break in any one of the other seasons.

"How do you deal with family vacations? Couple that with your elementary kids and your plans and still have your kids in schools?" said Joann Nef, mother of two Hillcrest High School students.

"If we have a lot of families who say 'Gosh, we want the winter off to ski, that's much more accommodating to what we do', we may be able to do that. I'm nervous about it, but then if we have to assign tracks we will do what we have to do," said McConnell.

Instead of a block schedule, there would be six one-hour periods, with the option of attending a zero or a seventh hour.

"Those students who want to work in the afternoon. If they want to start school at 7 in the morning and take a zero hour, at least that's going to be our approach at first, that students will have the option, some students may want to sleep in and start school later," said McConnell.

Year-round school also means the need for year-round teachers, and more counselors to track the tracks.

"The funding options from the state are the pretty traditional model of kids going either tri's or semesters, that 170-175 days," said McConnell.

Graduation requirements may also change since students would be earning 18 credits a year on a trimester, rather than 16.

If the district did go to year-round schools, it would begin in the high schools in fall 2015. Middle schools may follow in later years, and the district does not expect elementary schools to change.

The board does plan to run a bond election again, but it won't be until at least the fall. 

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