Pupils at Viewmont School, the Murray City School District's largest elementary school, will return to a traditional nine-month academic calendar this fall after being on a year-round, multitrack schedule for three years.
The district board voted unanimously Wednesday night to bring Viewmont's schedule into conformity with the district's other six schools, none of which are on a year-round schedule.But some of the parents and teachers who like the year-round schedule said the board made its decision too hastily and said changing Viewmont's schedule could disrupt the entire district.
Located on Murray's west side, Viewmont currently has 708 students - 78 students more than capacity and more than twice as many as the district's smallest school.
Viewmont students attend school on four different year-round schedules or tracks - attending school for 45 days, then going "off-track" for 15 days. This multi-track system was adopted to accommodate an anticipated population growth in the Viewmont area of the Murray district without having to spend money on portable classrooms or new construction.
But Murray's west-side growth leveled off sooner than expected, leading some parents to question the wisdom of continuing with a year-round schedule.
Proponents of the year-round schedule include many teachers who say Viewmont students, who perform well on standardized tests, do better academically because they don't have as much "down time" between sessions.
But some parents who have children in secondary schools say the year-round schedule disrupts their families' schedules and keeps their children out of sync with other schools in the district, making it difficult for them to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Board members, conceding the problem had no easy solution, unanimously supported board member Margaret Nelson's motion to bring Viewmont back into conformity with the rest of the district by the 1991-92 school year.
The return to a traditional schedule could mean that some students who live in the Viewmont area would have to be bused to other district schools. The board decided to limit any busing time to 30 minutes.
Board member Earl Townsend said that the decision to return to a traditional schedule should be examined in a broader context. "I think maybe it's time to look at the whole district and consider realigning the whole district," he said.
But that, said parent Bill Kidder, would cause problems that would reverberate far beyond Viewmont. "You're now looking at changing boundaries. You're disrupting the whole district for one school," he told the board.