I would like to present some additional information concerning the Payson Governing Board's decision on the 2007-2008 calendar.
The board has explained that "maintenance of the facilities is difficult when there are only seven weeks without children in the classrooms" to which it has been suggested the buildings could be "maintained during these (two week) breaks" (see letter to the editor in Oct. 27, 2006 issue). During the five years the district has been on the current two week break calendar, maintaining the classrooms during the two week breaks hasn't been feasible. Ask one of the dedicated custodians or a maintenance worker. I have. The response was essentially, "It's really difficult. The longer summers made it so much easier."
The board also considered the difficulty the secretarial staff and the business office have had ordering supplies and textbooks after the start of the fiscal year on July 1 and then hoping the supplies would arrive before school began in just a few weeks. Some classrooms begin the school year waiting for all their supplies to arrive.
Do the teachers like their two-week breaks in the fall and spring? Absolutely. We love them. However, a dedicated teacher loves teaching the children of this town regardless of the calendar. If it is better for the whole district, including maintenance workers, clerical staff and just maybe even students and some teachers, to go to one week breaks, then we should look at the bigger picture.
This issue isn't about the board "punishing" all the teachers or students because of a few, or acting as the tyrant some have suggested. This is about what is best for the district as a whole. I feel the board, after careful consideration of all information beyond just what the teachers want, acted in the best interest of the district as a whole by adopting this calendar.
In response to an additional letter concerning the board ignoring parent's wishes, many parents are happy with the change. Hopefully we hear from some of them.
Juli Davies, music teacher, Payson Elementary School