Mattawan Board considers August start to school year

Paul Garrod -

    MATTAWAN - The Mattawan Board of Education Monday night approved an early start calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. The Mattawan Board of Education, following  public comment, decided against starting it as early as August 2019.
    One parent,  Steven Ott, who has children in the Mattawan Middle and Later Elementary schools, said that he was opposed to moving it in 2019. “I am concerned that the proposed calendar may negatively affect people at the lower end of the economic scale the most.... people in single and double income working families who already have issues arranging affordable childcare.”
    Ott was also concerned  that this calendar year may push a number of families of all economic levels to “leave children  unattended who may not be ready to be left unattended during the extra breaks since childcare will not be easily arranged.”
    Ott said, “The fact that our teachers are split somewhat evenly on the survey with only 66 percent of teachers responding to the survey doesn’t show me a resounding show of support for the calendar by the  teaching staff.
    “I appreciate your time in listening to these points and I urge you not to approve the proposed early calendar for the 2019-2020 calendar. I also would ask that if a change is to be made, let’s take some more time to get more input on how best to do it, to decide upon the right schedule and to put in place concrete plans for district-provided childcare during the breaks throughout the school year.”
    Following the vote, Mattawan Consolidated School Superintendent Dr. Robin Buchler said, “We will wait a year because of families with vacations, and we want to honor those.”
    The Mattawan Consolidated School  administration had been reviewing the early start idea for the past two years, according to Board President Scott Sylvester. “They put a lot of time into it.”

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