During the five years I taught English at PHS, I offered intersession courses on more than one occasion. On none of those occasions did a sufficient number of students sign up to make a class. The last time exactly one student expressed interest. It was made clear to me by administration that the board would be happy for me to teach that one student for free, but they could not pay for my time to work with only one person.
This result was not due to my lack of empathy in writing courses. A pretty good-sized number of students told me, in no uncertain terms, that they would very much like to take the courses I proposed, but they expected the school to offer them during the regular school year. To a man they stated that they had no intention of using their break time to cram in another couple of weeks of learning.
In addition to that student reaction, please consider the fact that teachers sign a contract to work approximately 185 days for a given amount. For the intersession plan expected by the PUSD board, they are then expected to work an additional two to four weeks, at a significantly reduced hourly rate of pay. I cannot think of another single professional group that would find this arrangement acceptable.
The school board obviously would like to extend the school year by a few weeks, and do so at minimal cost. When neither students nor teachers greet this plan eagerly, the board then feels justified in taking punitive action and expressing itself as hurt and badly treated.
If faculty absenteeism is becoming problematic, I suggest that the board look beyond the issue of intersessions to find the answer.
I found a solution to this problem for myself; I wish others the same good fortune.
Kate Moore, Manhattan, Kan.