New school calendar merits good grade

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By Greg Romberg

After expressions of unhappiness from all corners of Jefferson County about school starting Aug. 12 this year, the school district has come up with a calendar for next year that extends summer for two more weeks and meets almost all of the desires expressed by students, parents and teachers.

School start dates have looked like an accordion the last several years. Start dates were inching closer and closer to the beginning of August until parents pushed back. After a very public discussion in 2003 and 2004, a new calendar was developed that pushed the start of school until the fourth week in August for three years. When that calendar expired, a new one was announced for this year beginning Aug. 13. While no one was too happy, parents in the Evergreen and Conifer areas took advantage of a district policy that allowed alternative calendars and worked to get the start date pushed back for a week.

Once kids from everywhere else in the county started school so early this year, the reaction was not good. Parents attended the school board’s Aug. 21 meeting to complain. Action was swift. A survey was developed and implemented. When it was clear that the overwhelming consensus was resentment of the early start, a new calendar for next year was quickly developed that pushes the start date to the fourth week of August, completes the first semester before winter break, ends school before Memorial Day, establishes a week-long break for Thanksgiving and preserves a three-day weekend for students in October.

It took less than two months from the parents’ attendance at the school board for the new calendar to be adopted. Now that a better, more customer-friendly calendar is in place, it should be maintained into the future.

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With the elections finally behind us, we’re free from disgusting negative political ads for another couple years. I didn’t find anything sinister about the fact that one major party candidate for the United States Senate made an honest living working in the oil and gas industry or that the other once lived in Boulder, but from the ads, you’d have thought either transgression was reason enough to lock them both up. Despite our election fatigue brought on by months of demeaning ads, we must celebrate the incredible enthusiasm and participation from tens of millions of new voters who participated so completely this time. Let’s hope they stay engaged and push us toward a more positive way of choosing our leaders in the future.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.