Some families will have to make special arrangements for the care of their children in late February, as school won’t be in session. The Oakdale Joint Unified School District will have a full week off for “Presidents’ Week,” which takes place Feb. 18-22. The Monday and Friday that week are holidays and the three days in between are days off. They are not furlough days, nor is it Spring Break, which takes place in April.
A new school calendar is created by the district’s teachers each year. This year, it was set so that there would be the weeklong break in February. OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Terri Taylor reported that the parameters for the school calendar are that the first semester is finished by Christmas break and the second semester is finished by Memorial Day.
“The week (off) in February this year, was voted on last year,” said Oakdale Teachers Association President Stacy Graham. “It was something that many members had requested.”
Graham explained that each year the OTA is allowed to have two re-openers to their contract. A survey goes out to teachers annually, asking what they would like to have negotiated in the contract. The district is also allowed two re-openers.
In the survey, OTA members make suggestions for time off around certain holidays or in certain months for the calendar. The OTA negotiation team reviews the requests and creates calendar options that the membership then votes upon. The calendar option with the most “yes” votes is then taken to the negotiations table. The district can ask to change days if they want, Graham said.
Once the calendar is created, if furlough days are necessary, then those have to be worked into the schedule as well.
Taylor said that there are 175 student instruction days and two staff workdays in the school calendar, which makes it 177 days for teachers. Prior to five furlough days being instituted by the district, there were 180 instructional days.
“The calendar is made with the intent to have even (balanced) semesters and to have the semester end before Christmas Break – that way finals can taken,” Graham added.