By Tony Farkas
GROVETON — The Groveton ISD School Board made changes to its calendar on March 28, both to comply with state attendance requirements and to prepare students for the 2022-23 calendar.
Superintendent Jim Dillard said 5 minutes were added to each day of the remainder of this semester’s calendar because the state requires 75,600 minutes of attendance per school year, and because of several closures, Groveton wouldn’t be in compliance for this year.
School now will start at 7:55 a.m.
“In August we closed for COVID, and when we came back from Christmas break had to close for two days again, which exhausted all the down time we had built into our calendar,” he said. “Then having to start late for weather recently meant we were going to be 120 minutes short.”
Dillard said that adding a day to the calendar for makeup would have meant reorganizing the calendar, either by changing graduation or spring break; by adding minutes, nothing changes.
In addition to putting the district’s attendance back in compliance, the change will help prepare students for a new calendar for 2022-23.
“It’s a hybrid calendar,” Dillard said. “Other districts in the area have moved to a 4-day schedule. The fall semester will be normal; we’ll go to a 4-day week in January, with students getting most Fridays off.”
Dillard said he is not convinced that a 4-day week is what Groveton needs, as recent surveys put out by the schools show a lot of people against it, but that school staff was for the change.
“There’s mixed opinions around here about Groveton adopting that,” he said.
Additionally, to adopt a 4-day week, school day has to be longer to meet the minute requirements, although how those minutes are made is up to district. The remainder of this year, as well as the calendar next year will help students get accustomed to the new routine.
Dillard said that next year, the fall semester will be as most semesters; then in the spring, students will be off most Fridays.
“We adopted this to see if we wanted to move to this type of calendar, so we can compare the semesters,” Dillard said. “This will answer questions, such as attendance and testing and things of that nature. We’re in uncharted territory. That’s not to say we won’t change back, but time will tell.”
In other business, the board:
•discussed school attendance, which is at 754 and hasn’t changed from month to month;
•opted to not purchase a new school bus;
•gave permission to Dillard to execute personnel contracts for the next few months; and
•approved teacher contracts and resignations.