This week, the Vancouver School Board voted to extend spring break in the 2010-2011 school year from one week to two, hoping to save roughly $1.3 million per year. Facing an $18 million shortfall, the board extended spring break by four days and added six long weekends to the calendar.
The board is also considering cuts to music and arts programs to make up the gap, even as the province appointed a comptroller general to review VSB finances.
The Sea to Sky School District is keeping to a one-week spring break for 2010-2011, but is considering extending spring break the following.
Last week the SD 48 released a statement that they would tackle the school calendar issue in September, developing a three-year calendar starting in the 2011-2012 year that may include a two-week spring break - not so much for budgetary reasons but because some parents wanted the extra week to plan holidays.
"We haven't discussed any financial reasons for (going to two weeks) but I suppose after we digest the impact of this budget year that's a possibility," said district chair Rick Price. "Really what we've been motivated by is the desire expressed by parents and teachers for various features in the calendar, and what we've been trying to do with surveys is to see if there is a clear direction that people wanted us to take."
A survey of parents found that they were more or less evenly divided on the question of spring break, with a slight edge for parents who wanted a two-week break. However, some parents wrote on the survey that they opposed the changeover to a two-week spring break because it would have meant an earlier start to the school year, which would have interfered with other vacation plans.
"We felt it was not a good idea to spring an earlier start on people (for 2010-2011) who have already made plans for the summer," said Price.
To remedy this some parents suggested that a compromise could include adding a few minutes to the average school day rather that starting earlier or finishing later.
Given the level of support for that compromise option, Price said there would likely be another survey sent to parents in September when the board tackles the calendar issue again.