District polling parents about school calendar

Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials are asking parents and district staff to weigh in on the possibility of students starting school in August.

The district is circulating a survey that presents the community with four potential options for a revised calendar for the 2015-16 school year.

Newport-Mesa students currently begin classes the day after Labor Day. An earlier start time would allow students to have a longer Thanksgiving break, an earlier start to summer vacation or a combination of the two, according to the survey, which can be accessed on the district's website.

An August start date could allow students additional time to prepare for Advanced Placement exams, which occur on the same date in the spring for all schools across the nation, officials said.

Any change wouldn't take effect for 2014-15, since the calendar for that school year has already been approved by the district board of trustees, said John Caldecott, executive director of human resources.

"This is something that's been requested a couple times in the past five years," he said. "This was the window to start taking a look at it."

The first option listed on the survey maintains the district's current calendar. The second option would have students returning to school Sept. 3, the Thursday before Labor Day in 2015, and would give them a full week off for Thanksgiving with the year ending in late June.

The third option would have students attend class Aug. 31, the Monday before Labor Day, and have the school year end five days earlier than the current calendar. The final option would have students back at school Aug. 27, a Thursday, give them a full week off for Thanksgiving and end the year five days earlier in June.

Newport-Mesa calendars are developed after receiving input through a Calendar Committee representing district students, parents, teachers and staff. The calendar is then considered by the district board and the teachers union, Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

The district hopes to have a completed calendar by June 30, Caldecott said.

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