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updated: 2/25/2013 9:06 AM

U-46 board to vote tonight on revised calendar

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Elgin Area School District U-46 board of education members will vote on a revised calendar Monday night for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The calendar has been updated since it was first presented to the board Jan. 28, reflecting significant input from parents, students, teachers and community members.

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The community leapt into the conversation upon hearing the school year would start about a week earlier in August to give high schoolers a chance to take their final exams before winter break. The initial proposal had classes starting Aug. 14. The latest version of the calendar pushes the start back to Aug. 19.

"The revisions we made reflect our commitment to working together and to making decisions that will serve the best interests of our entire U-46 family," said Superintendent José Torres in a message on the district's website.

Parents and teachers spoke against the week earlier start to the year at two different school board meetings, many saying they already have August travel plans and others offering concerns about summer camps and park district schedules.

The Aug. 19 start date will still allow an end to the first semester before winter break, instead of in mid-January. The school year will end May 27 instead of May 21, as was proposed last month.

The proposed calendar also includes holding school on Veterans Day, an idea endorsed by various veterans groups for the opportunity to engage more students in holiday ceremonies and activities. Several community members have opposed the change, however, amid concerns that schools would not plan adequate programming.

Other changes to the calendar from this year include having school in session the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

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