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Effort to unify Marion County school calendars fails

IPS will give bonuses to many support staffers and administrators. But AFSCME Local 661 has not ratified the contract.
IPS will give bonuses to many support staffers and administrators. But AFSCME Local 661 has not ratified the contract.
Scott Elliott

An effort by Indianapolis Public Schools to explore a unified school calendar with the other 10 Marion County school districts has proved unworkable.

Instead, IPS expects to establish a new 15-member calendar committee that will include parents, teachers, students, administrators, business leaders and representatives from churches and non-profit groups.

Superintendent Lewis Ferebee told the IPS school board tonight that the district has received positive feedback about the year-long style “balanced” calendar it has followed the last two years but he thought a unified, countywide calendar was worth exploring.

A unified calendar would help families that have children attending schools in more than one district or parents who work in different districts, Ferebee said. There would also be some potential advantages of having all students in the county on breaks at the same time.

A major barrier, however, was the fact that different local unions represent the teachers in each district and those union contracts don’t match up in a variety of ways.

“We all have different guidelines under our collective bargaining agreements about professional development and time for teachers to be professionally trained,” Ferebee said. “There are several nuances to how each calendar is developed.”

The IPS committee is expected to begin work by early October to propose a new two-year calendar as early as January. Those interested in serving on the committee can find more information at www.myips.org.

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