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Langley schools adopt 'varied calendar' to reduce costs

To reduce costs, Langley School board has voted to adopt a varied calendar for the 2011-2012 school year. This is part of a four-year plan to eliminate a $13.5 million deficit incurred between 2008 and 2010.

In a news release, the district said it will extend spring break to two weeks, from March 9, 2012 to March 26. As well, students will get a four-day long weekend from Friday, November 11 to Monday, November 14.

The district explained its decision in the release:

Under the School Act districts are required to provide a set number of instructional minutes in each school year. To compensate for six additional days off schools will add nine minutes to the instructional day at the elementary level and 10 minutes at secondary and middle levels.

Extending Spring Break and adding an extra day off in November will save the district approximately $225,000 in the 2011-2012 School Year. The Board and Senior Management of Langley School District have stated that the purpose of the varied calendar is to realize savings as the district addresses continuing budget pressures and enters the first year of a four-year plan to eliminate a $13.5 million deficit incurred in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 operating years.

A report to the Board recommended that the strategy be implemented for a limited time and not be considered permanent. Under the School Act ‘local’ calendars must be approved for every year they are implemented. So if the varied calendar is to be continued beyond 2011-2012 it will have to be considered by the Board of Education for each subsequent year it is in effect.

Langley has faced serious financing problems for several years.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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