Canyon Crest Elementary will go on a year-round schedule next year, the Provo School Board reaffirmed
Tuesday night after listening to several hours of comments from parents opposed to the new schedule.Some 150 parents in the area of the school, 4664 Canyon Road, attended the board's meeting at Timpview High School. While about a dozen support the proposed schedule, the majority of parents came to plead with the board to consider other alternatives for accommodating the growing number of children at Canyon Crest.
The parents expressed their sentiments about year-round education by decorating Timpview's auditorium with posters and red, white and blue balloons adorned with ribbons saying, "Just say no thank you." Some parents also sported red arm bands to signify their opposition to the schedule change.
The board voted 4-1 to uphold the decision it made in January to place Canyon Crest, which was built to accommodate 714 pupils but has 739, on a four-track, year-round schedule. Board member Kenneth Clark voted against upholding the board's earlier decision.
Earlier in the meeting Clark said that while he believes a year-round program is one of the best alternatives for reducing crowding he cannot in good conscience support the schedule when a majority of parents oppose it.
After the board's vote, parents held an impromptu meeting in the lobby outside the high school's auditorium and agreed to hold a meeting Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. at Canyon Crest to "draft a reasoned response to the board's action," said Paul Evans, a member of Citizens for Canyon Crest, the group representing parents opposed to the year-round schedule.
The parents say they were not adequately apprised of the board's intention to go ahead with a year-round program at Canyon Crest. The school district did hold "cottage" meetings in the Canyon Crest area 18 months ago to discuss pros and cons of a year-round schedule. However, those meetings were sparsely attended, and no action was taken on the proposal until last month.
Also, the parents believe there are less expensive and less disruptive methods of easing crowding at the school and that year-round programs are not beneficial to children's education.
"Our response to your offer of year-round education at Canyon Crest is a very polite, but very resolute, `No thank you,"' said Jessica McGovern, president-elect of Canyon Crest's Parent-Teacher Association.
Citizens for Canyon Crest surveyed parents with children at the school and found 70 percent oppose the year-round schedule. Fifteen percent wanted more information about year-round school before voicing support for or against the program.
Robin Fife said parents unhappy over the board's decision had begun enrolling their children at neighboring Edgemont and Rock Canyon elementaries. Around 123 children have either been enrolled or placed on a waiting list at Edgemont, she said.
"Without parental support I believe any program you propose is doomed to failure," she said.
"Many of us are voting with our feet by transferring," said Dennis Dixon.
Parents also said year-round schedules interfere with extracurricular activities.
Two parents spoke in favor of year-round school.
Scott McKinney said year-round schedules result in fewer discipline problems and absenteeism, less teacher burnout and that most parents with children on year-round schedules like the program. A father of a handicapped child said he thinksyear-round school "would be excellent for our children."
Parents opposed to the year-round schedule proposed that the school board readjust boundaries to equalize enrollments between Canyon Crest and Edgemont, which is at 91 percent of capacity, or bring in up to three portable classroom units to accommodate children for the next two years while growth is re-evaluated and other solutions considered.
Board member David G. Weight said the Provo District has adopted year-round programs as the "permanent solution" to classroom crowding, and that so far, Provo's east side "has not felt, taken and shared the responsibility" of year-round scheduling. He pointed out that Canyon Crest was built with the intention that it would some day be used year-round.
Four Provo elementary schools already on year-round schedules: