We Need a Fair and Informed Calendar Survey

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Celina Morgan

Mar 14, 2023, 4:31:09 PM3/14/23
to public....@laschools.net

The school board is about to face a decision that will have an enormous impact on almost every school-aged family in Los Alamos, teachers, as well as several local businesses and organizations. It will be a vote for a calendar that is compulsory for students. A survey has been sent to the community by the calendar committee. It is inherently flawed, and biased. If the school board is going to make a decision that reflects the interests of stakeholders, they will need and deserve better input from the community. I am asking the school board to request a new survey that will allow the community to share our preference in a fair, straightforward, and informed manner.


            Our community is facing two major decisions based upon the calendars presented by the committee. The first major decision is how to add the instructional hours as required by HB 130. The second major decision is which type of calendar we prefer. These decisions are placed below, and I strongly feel that this is how our survey should be organized. Instead, the survey confounds the two separate decisions. After the community determines their preferences on these two major decisions, we should then be provided with three calendars within the singular framework. 


Decision 1: Adding Instructional Hours

           A: Traditional Calendar, 180 days extended days.

B: Traditional Calendar, 188 days of the same length. 

C: Traditional Calendar, adding some days (1-7 days), and a smaller amount of time to extend the day.

Options B and C were not presented in the survey.


            Decision 2: Preferred Calendar

A.    Traditional (180-188 days)

B.    Semi-Balanced as an ongoing calendar, 188 days

C.     Semi-Balanced as a transitional calendar, 188 days

D.    Balanced, 190 days 

1.     Transition to a balanced calendar for SY 2023-24

2.     Transition to a balanced calendar for SY 2024-25

3.     Transition to a balanced calendar for SY 2025-26

Option B and C were not presented separately in the current survey. The survey presents the semi-balanced as a transition to a balanced calendar without allowing respondents differentiate their preference. 

Option D was not presented with multiple start dates in the current survey.


Bias in the Current Survey

I feel incredibly disappointed with the degree of bias presented in the survey. The survey question about a balanced calendar pauses to sell us on some talking points about why the author thinks we should want a balanced calendar. It does not do this for the other calendars. There are many counterpoints about why we should not want a balanced calendar. The presentation of the survey was also biased; it was linked in a newsletter that some parents do not read, and other stakeholders in the community will not likely see.

The balanced calendar option begins the upcoming school year on July 20th, 2023. This represents a major change to a schedule that is only four months away. Families and staff have already made summer arrangements. Youth programs and camps often require making arrangements nearly two years in advance. Youth programs are already booking into the summer of 2024. Realistically, a reasonable transition to a balanced calendar would take three years. This would also give community organizations an opportunity to plan and respond. While I'm not personally a fan of the balanced calendar, if the school board is going to be able to get the pulse of the community surrounding a balanced calendar, the survey needs to ask when the community would be prepared to make that transition and plan and advertise accordingly. As such, a balanced calendar should be presented with three implementation years (or assume that we won’t be ready until the 2025-26 SY). 

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment. I appreciate your service on the board. I do hope you will ask for a more appropriate survey to be sent out so that you can also make an informed decision.

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