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posted: 9/11/2013 5:31 AM

Dist. 220 panel favors ending semester in December

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An advisory panel Tuesday recommended Barrington Unit District 220 end the first semester of each school year before winter break without changing the start or end times for the entire year.

The 35-member Input 220 Advisory Council has been researching and discussing whether any changes from the current school calendar would be beneficial to students without causing any unintended side effects.

More than the minimum 60 percent of the membership ultimately agreed that ending the first semester for high school students before winter break would free them from study obligations during the break as well as even out the lengths of the two semesters.

To achieve this, there would have to be fewer days off in both semesters, including canceling the Columbus Day holiday and moving a teacher in-service day to before the start of the school year.

The recommendation will be presented for public input at a community meeting tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at the district's Early Learning Center, 40 E. Dundee Ave. in Barrington.

With the feedback from that meeting, the advisory council would then have one more meeting of its own before presenting its recommendation to the district's school board at its meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 15, Co-Chair Jeff Church said.

School board President Brian Battle said his board would then need some time to research and evaluate the recommendation for itself.

Church said he has no expectation the school board would automatically approve the recommendation.

Another decision for the school board would be when to implement any change to the calendar agreed on.

Battle said the significance of any changes would have a lot to do with whether they could be made as early as the 2014-15 school year.

Aug. 20 would remain the earliest possible start day.

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