INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The Indian River County School Board chose to send two proposed calendars for the next school year back to the drawing board after more than an hour of public comment and board discussion.
“This is where it needs to be resolved, at committee,” said Carli Van Zanch, “not the board room.” Van Zanch and eight others addressed the school board during the meeting, calling for either approval of the committee’s calendar or sending it back for more review. More than 120 people attended the school board meeting, many sitting on the floor or leaning against walls to hear the discussion.
The calendar committee is expected to meet sometime next week to try to reconcile the two proposed calendars and follow direction the school board members gave during the meeting. They are expected to bring back a revised calendar to a board workshop scheduled for March 23.
The school board’s direction to the calendar committee includes the following guidelines:
No early start
No standalone days (i.e. 1 day school week)
Both even and uneven semesters could be supported
The committee, consisting of teachers, parents, students and others, crafted one calendar that called for even semesters and exams after the winter break. The second calendar was created by the Superintendent’s Leadership Council as an alternative and called for a shorter first semester and exams before winter break.
School board members voiced support of the calendar committee but noted that there might be room for improvement in the calendar.
“They tried so hard to please everybody that they didn’t please anybody,” said Board Chairwoman Karen Disney-Brombach of the calendar committee. “That’s what it looks like to me.”
Member Claudia Jimenez said the calendar would serve 17,000 students in the county and could not possibly meet everyone’s needs.
“We can’t be perfect about this,” she said.
The school board defended Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava’s decision to present an alternative calendar, explaining to the audience that they had provided him with direction to explore the possibility of having exams before the winter break, which the committee calendar did not present.
“I understand where Dr. La Cava’s alternative calendar is coming from,” Jimenez said, later adding, “I do feel Dr. La Cava has that right to pursue the board’s direction when the calendar committee was unable to provide a calendar” that had a normal start and exams before the winter break.