Murray School District will form an ad hoc committee to study the year-round school program at Viewmont Elementary School.
Viewmont, 745 W. 5720 South, is the only school in the district on the 45/15 year-round schedule. Students go to school for 45 days and are off for 15 days.Parents and students have expressed concern about the program's continuation when growth on the district's west side has leveled off.
"It hasn't occurred as fast as predicted," said Murray Superintendent Ronald L. Stephens.
District officials said Viewmont's enrollment has continued to grow, as does enrollment at Grant and Horizon Elementary schools. Horizon's enrollment, however, is expected to level off.
The committee will be made up of not more than 15 people. One of its members will be a board member. Stephens said the committee will explore data to decide the schedule's fate.
Board member Margaret Nelson, Stephens and Viewmont Principal Don Johnson will make recommendations at the next board meeting as to the makeup of the committee.
Nelson said the committee needs to either offer specific recommendations about the school's schedule or gather facts that would help decide the fate of the program.
Board member Sherry Madsen said the committee should also have a time frame in which to report to the board. "The parents deserve an answer," Madsen said.
Kathi Rosander, who has three children attending the school, said parents find themselves at odds with the other six district elementary schools on the traditional schedule. She said some parents are frustrated their children can't plan activities with peers from the other schools.
"There are impacts you don't even realize," she told the board. "I don't feel we have been ignored, but I have received more negative comments from patrons than positive ones about the change."
Three years ago, the board formed a committee to study Viewmont's options to deal with projected overcrowding. The committee held neighborhood meetings and recommended the controversial schedule.
"They did a good job, but the parents felt the committee had already made a decision before they were involved. We felt railroaded into saying year-round must be the answer," Rosander said.
Rosander said parents whose children attend the school want to see how the 15-day vacation periods and longer instructional sessions have affected the school's educational programs and the students' academic achievement. "I would hope that you wouldn't be afraid to make a decision against the one you made three years ago," she said.