Shaler board confirms school start date
The Shaler Area School Board is maintaining its decision to start the 2013-14 school year after Labor Day to the disappointment of some teachers and parents.
High school teachers Dennis Dudley and Paul Stadelman approached the board on March 13 to request they reconsider their vote to start classes on Sept. 3.
Dudley argued that the approved calendar puts the teachers and students at a disadvantage to prepare for statewide academic testing, including the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone exams, in May.
“Not one of you on the board does not believe academics is more important than vacation?” Dudley said.
Dudley argued that the board has made changes to the calendar in the past and that it would be in the best interest of the students to make the pre-Labor Day start date revision.
Board President Jim Giel said for now, no revisions will be made to the calendar.
“The board made the decision, the board had the opportunity to make the changes and they did not,” Giel said. “The board feels beginning after Labor Day is the best for the students.”
The school board originally discussed the 2013-14 calendar and approved it in February.
When administrators presented calendar options to the school board, Superintendent Wes Shipley said it was challenging because several holidays fall on Wednesdays, including Christmas and New Year's Day, and the PSSA testing window is March 17 to Apr. 11 and Apr. 28 to May 9.
“Making a calendar is not as easy as choosing a start and end date,” Shipley said in February.
Of the two calendar options initially proposed to Shaler Area Education Association, the teachers' collective bargaining unit, and the school board, one started classes on Aug. 26 and one started classes on Sept. 3. The school board approved the latter with classes ending June 13.
The board also listened to public comment before approving the 2013-14 calendar during which board member John Fries said several parents expressed preference for a start date after Labor Day and none voicing strong objections to it.
“I always urge the public to be involved as much as possible,” Fries said. “I've listened to those people who were proactive. … I wish we would have heard that (Dudley's arguments) prior to voting.”
Eileen Phillips, secretary of the District Parent Council, was at the February meeting in which the board discussed the calendar and said there was not an overwhelming support from the public speakers to start after Labor Day.
“It wasn't until after that (meeting) Mr. Dudley came to the school parent organizations and DPC and gave a very informed presentation,” Phillips said. “I think now that we realize, our eyes are open to why … I think most parents would choose that (the calendar starts before Labor Day).”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Photo Gallery: Vacation Bible school at St. Athanasius Catholic Church
- Vincentian boys, girls basketball camps plant seeds for success
- 3 honeybee hives placed on Mt. Alvernia campus in Millvale to help pollinate garden
- Shaler commissioner named president of Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust
- Flea, Vendor and Crafter Market in McCandless to benefit Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- North Allegheny grad nets scholarships at national competition
- McCandless teen to go from CLO’s ‘Gypsy’ to Comtra’s ‘Honk!’