Variety of factors complicate Ann Arbor school calendar making
There’s no doubt the most-discussed portion of Monday’s release of details of a tentative agreement between the Ann Arbor school district and the teachers' union was the calendar for the next two school years.
In case you haven’t been following all the comments on the original story, let me bring you up to speed.
The proposed calendar, which is set through the bargaining process between the district and the union, moved the mid-winter break from its traditional alignment with the University of Michigan’s break.
A variety of reasons were cited for the move.
The first factor: U-M’s spring break this year was moved to the first week in March. (Eastern Michigan University's break is the same as U-M).
If Ann Arbor matched its winter break to the university’s spring break, that would mean students would be in class just four weeks between the district’s winter break and its spring break, which is set for the first week in April.
District and union folks didn’t like having that short length of time between the two breaks.
So you might think the solution is simple - just have the district move its spring break back a week or two, creating more distance between the two breaks.
But that’s not possible, thanks to another state law.
That law, passed in 2007, mandates that all the school districts in a county adopt a common calendar that has the same weeks for winter holiday and spring break.
Washtenaw County adopted a common calendar in 2008. But Ann Arbor had an existing teachers' contract that had a calendar already established, meaning it didn't have to match up this year.
The contract, including the calendar, isn't yet set in stone. Ann Arbor’s teachers and then the school board will have to approve the entire contract.
David Jesse covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com.