For more Clark County elementary schoolers, summer vacation may become a thing of the past.
On Friday, the school district added 11 schools to a year-round schedule in order to alleviate overcrowding.
Last school year, ten elementary schools went to a year-round system. The year before that, three did.
Using an alternate calendar, as the district calls it, is just one of three options the district has to quickly alleviate overcrowding the others include portables and rezoning.
“The problem is they all have their pros and cons and some of them impact students more than others and they have a cost associated with them as well.” Clark County School District Chief Financial Officer Jim McIntosh said.
The district decides which schools will turn to a year-round calendar based on several factors including growth, estimates of future growth, current use of portables and how over capacity they are.
“It’s a very difficult process to pick which schools are going to go to year round because we understand the impact it has on students and the parents,” McIntosh said.
This year 61 schools were consider, but only 11 were selected. Two new laws signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval allow the district to start building new schools, but those schools won’t be ready until 2017 at the very earliest. Many schools needed immediate relief from overcrowding, which year-round calendar provides.
“I know one of the reasons parents dislike year-round calendar, especially if they have siblings, is when children end up on a different track than the other or if they have a sibling that goes to a secondary school, and we don’t have year round calendar at our secondary schools,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh points out that parents can work with the school to shift around schedules or ask for a zoning variance if a year-round school is just not going to work for the family.
Stevan Corbett of the Nevada PTA said his group has received mixed opinions from its members. Some parents are not sure what impact it will have on kids and others are happy because it cuts down on how much learning students lose over the summer.
Until a few years ago most CCSD elementary schools were year-round, something that most families just learned to deal with.
“You absorb it. You learn it and work with it,” Corbett said.
McIntosh said even though the district can add portables, rezone neighborhoods or turn to an alternate schedule, the real problem is overall the school district just does not have enough seats for the number of students.
“Even if you rezone the entire district at the elementary level, we’re approximately 19 percent over capacity,” McIntosh said.
Theo Smalls of the the Clark County Education Association agrees. He said while year-round schools can work for individual families and can help academically having enough money for schools in general is a problem.
“The issue is funding. The issue is being committed to improving education. Because you have a year-round school doesn’t mean you have smaller class sizes,” Smalls said.
Smalls calls year-round schedules a “band aid solution, not a permanent solution.”
The schools are:
Schools already using a year-round schedule:
Theo Small, Vice President of the Clark County Education Association; Stevan Corbett, vice president of special programs, Nevada PTA; Jim McIntosh, chief financial officer, CCSD
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