Board approves shortened academic year, summer food program

Students in De Soto's USD 232 will get an extra week of summer this year before starting classes for the 2012-2013 academic year thanks to efforts by the Board of Education to shorten the academic calendar and save money.

The board approved the calendar, which begins the school year a week later in August compared to the current year and ends a day earlier, at its meeting Monday night. According to staff reports on the change, the district will save approximately $82,000.

"It's a rough estimate based on utility, transportation and fuel costs," said district Director of Administrative Services Alvie Cater.

While days are being dropped from the calendar, it is important to note that no education time will be lost, board member and calendar committee spokesman Randy Johnson said. The majority of the dropped time comes from shortening breaks and reducing the number of student half-days.

According to the new calendar, winter break for 2012 will only be 10 days as opposed to 13 for 2011, two built-in snow days have been moved to the ends of the year instead of spread out and two days previously designated as half-days for students been eliminated all together.

In other actions the board approved Starside Elementary's Summer Food Program for 2012. The program was deemed a major success in its inaugural year.

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