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Air Conditioning Upgrades Delay Proposed Rollout of PPS 'Balanced Calendar' To 2022-23

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Peoria Public Schools is pushing back the proposed implementation of its "balanced calendar" to the 2022-23 school year.

The proposed new school calendar would cut summer break down from its traditional 60 days to just 30. In exchange, spring break would be extended from five days to 15, and a new 15-day "fall break" would be introduced.

When the proposal was first presented to the board last month, the district said it may be possible to implement the new calendar as soon as the 2021-22 school year. But it's difficult to hold classes well into the summer months without some building upgrades first.

"We're looking at a transition year for the 2021-22 school year, because we cannot start until Aug. 5 due to the HVAC, and making sure all of our buildings are air-conditioned," said Dr. Sandra Wilson, the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Administrators first started examining the balanced calendar concept back in 2017, but implementation is now being seriously considered to make up for time lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are several subcommittees meeting through February to discuss different facets and impacts of the balanced calendar plan.

"We're going to use the feedback gathered in those committees to come up with a proposal for you," said Wilson at Monday's school board meeting.

Families and staff will also get their say through a survey, to be mailed out the first week of February.

A draft plan will be presented to the board on Feb. 22. A final vote is expected in April.

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Tim Shelley is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.