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New committee studying year-round school for USD 501

At least 3 board members showed support during regular board meeting
Topeka Public Schools has a new committee studying the impact of year-round school. (File photo)
Topeka Public Schools has a new committee studying the impact of year-round school. (File photo)(wibw)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 11:52 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Year-round school has been proposed by a pair of USD 501 board members and a newly formed committee will meet by Zoom Thursday afternoon for the first time. The public may attend the meeting by phone at 312-626-6799 with meeting ID: 874-8245-4004 and Passcode: TPS 12.10 -- the meeting will also be streamed via Facebook Live.

Dr. C. Richard Bonebrake brought up the topic at the board’s meeting just one week ago. At that time Dr. Bonebrake said that he and fellow member Melanie Stuart-Campbell have been discussing the possible benefits for students and parents.

Saying we are “no longer an agrarian society”, Dr. Bonebrake urged the board to “optimize education for our greatest resource.” He said that there are a lot of advantages to year-round school, including bringing people to Kansas. He also believes that it will help resolve “parental problems in trying to get childcare in the summertime.”

His proposal came during the board members comment portion toward the end of the meeting. Dr. Bonebrake urged the board and Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Anderson to formally arrange for a committee to study how the district could proceed to year round school.

Dr. Anderson appointed Billie Wallace, her Assistant Superintendent of Teaching & Learning to lead the new committee.

“We have a lot of new administrators over the last number of years that have had experience with year-round schools,” Anderson said. “That might be another group of individuals who might be able to give feedback and bring information back to the board.

It was brought up that a District Citizen’s Advisory Council (DCAC) report was created a few years ago on this very topic. Dr. Anderson said that her staff would look for that report and distribute it to the committee and the board.

Board member Dr. Michael Morrison followed Bonebrake’s comments by saying that he’s wanted to study a similar change to the school year schedule ever since he joined the school board. He said that he’s even had positive conversations with teachers in the past in which they had “great ideas.” However, he noted it did not go anywhere under a previous administration.

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