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July 15, 2014

Chickasha Public School calendar change could benefit district

A proposed change to the Chickasha Public School calendar could have several benefits in addition to a little extra summer vacation time.

Superintendent David Cash said that by extending the school start date from Aug. 14 to Aug. 20the school district could bring in additional state and federal funds as well as save on electricity during the hottest days of the year.

Because of the way that state and federal government defines eligibility to students, for example free and reduced lunches, more students qualify when school starts later in the year, Cash said.

This formula isn't new, Cash said. Larger school districts, such as Tulsa have been adopting this calendar change for about 20 years. At his last district in Locust Grove, Cash said the smaller district started the change five years ago.

Tweaking the calendar gave Locust Grove an estimated $200,000 in extra funding. Cash said starting later could give Chickasha Public Schools an estimated $200,000 to $400,000.

By starting school four days later, the built in snow days are removed and one parent/teacher conference will be moved to President's Day. Graduation and the last day of school will remain the same as the previous calendar.

According to Cash, snow days will be built into the school year using time instead of days. Oklahoma state law allows for a days or time calculation for minimum instructional standards, Cash said.

"Without any change to our current school day schedule, we have seven snow days currently available if needed," Cash said in an email to faculty. "If bad weather occurs, we will not have to make up any days or time until the eighth missed day of school.

The proposed change will not be confirmed until the Chickasha School Board meeting on July 21, but Cash said the response from faculty has been overwhelmingly positive as was a meeting with the CUTA negotiations team.

Cash sent emails and letters to faculty proposing the change and so far there have been 102 votes in favor of the change and no votes against it.

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