Two-week spring break continues in 2014

Local parents gave a resounding yes to the Richmond school district to continue the annual two-week spring break.

80 per cent of the 12,768 respondents answered yes or no preference to the question: “Are you in favour of continuing with the two week spring break which the school district instituted three years ago?”

That means for early vacation planners, next year’s break has been confirmed as March 17 to 28, 2014.

Beyond 2014, however, nothing has been set in stone, said board of education chair Donna Sargent. As mandated by provincial regulations, the spring break will continue to be reviewed annually, though she said future consultations won’t be as extensive as the process that’s just been completed.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 9 and 23, and 9,027 parents voted in support of continuing the spring break in its current form. Another 702 parents voted no preference.

According to a school district staff report, the two-week spring break resulted in $155,500 in savings last year, and another $160,000 in 2011.

On the topic of a future balanced calendar—with breaks of three weeks at Christmas, three weeks at Spring Break, and six weeks during the summer—district staff suggest that consultations would be needed and would “take a few years to occur, given the consultations that would need to take place before this change could be considered” the report states.

This year, the spring break debate was handled separately, but Sargent said in future years, it will become part of the review process that’s associated with the construction of every school calendar year.

Sargent said some trustees commented that there’s a lack of data regarding the extended spring break, and wondered whether there’s statistical evidence supporting the rationale to make the change two years ago.

Sargent said trustees extended the spring break to two weeks for student and teacher wellness, as well as cost savings.

Whether the stats back that up is something district staff will now be tasked with looking into.

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