Durango School District 9-R will keep early release on Fridays during the 2009-10 school year.
District officials had considered moving early release to Wednesdays. But teachers and principals said they have enough to deal with next year.
"They felt like there's enough change and enough things going on," Superintendent Keith Owen said at a 9-R board meeting Tuesday.
"We're not looking for a change for this year," he said.
The school district began releasing students early on Fridays in 2007-08. Teachers are supposed to use the time to meet in what are called Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, to discuss student learning, but Owen said there are some problems with teacher absenteeism on Friday afternoons. Owen said principals are trying to ensure the time is used well.
Teachers have urged the district to keep PLCs.
Board member Tammy Cap-devielle asked what parents wanted.
"I didn't hear of too many parents who were supporting a move to Wednesday," Owen said.
Also at Tuesday's meeting:
Public testimony focused on the district's staffing plans for next year.
The district is looking to cut some positions through attrition and cuts to one-year contracts. The district is developing what it calls a staffing model to tie staffing levels to student enrollment. Colorado schools are funded largely based on student enrollment.
A letter from Park Elementary School teachers who are members of the Durango Education Association, the teachers' union, warned that "rising class sizes will be detrimental." The school has a large proportion of students who live in poverty and who do not speak English as their primary language.
Jackie Smith, a 9-R employee, told board members the greatest benefits of small classes come when they have fewer than 20 students.
DEA President Njal Schold, a special-education teacher at Durango High School, said Owen had been "completely open and forthcoming" about his staffing plans.
"Having operated in an atmosphere of mistrust for too long, I appreciate the change in atmosphere that exists in this district," Schold said. "I believe that we have seen the last of a style of placing staff that had no structure and lent itself to backroom deals, favoritism and cronyism."
Owen has said the staffing model seeks to provide a rational basis for why schools are staffed at the numbers they are.
The district's yearlong strategic planning process continues. The strategic plan is a top priority of Owen in his first year as 9-R superintendent. Several teams of community members are looking at how 9-R can improve. They will hold the seventh of 12 meetings tonight. The teams are beginning to write action plans, said Sandra Berman-LaFrance, a 9-R administrator.
Owen said the action plans could be ready for the school board to review by June.
New DHS football coach Greg Wyatt was introduced. Wyatt's hiring was confirmed by the board Tuesday.
"We're really pleased and very happy to have Greg on board," said Sheldon Keresey, athletics and activities director at DHS.