Mancos Elementary School students will be released a week early from school this month because of the large construction project underway.
The early release on May 16 is intended to give teachers time to pack up classrooms before Jaynes Construction starts summer work without the district having to pay for additional contract days.
“It’s a money issue for the school,” owner’s representative Monty Guiles said at last week’s school board meeting. “It’s not necessarily a construction schedule issue.”
Although they talked about the early release possibility at the April 29 board meeting, Superintendent Brian Hanson said the official decision was made May 3. The middle and high school will remain in session through the next week on May 23.
At the meeting, PK-5 Principal Cathy Epps said a community survey had been released regarding the possibility of releasing students May 16 instead of May 23. They saw a 20% response rate, with 34 of the 166 elementary school families providing feedback, she said in her staff report.
Of these respondents, 65% were supportive of an early release, while 23% were not in favor. Twelve percent of respondents were unsure or wanted to start a week later in August. This, she and Guiles pointed out, would not solve the problem, as it would involve a different contract year for teachers.
Epps added that as a K-12 district that aligns calendars at all levels, the elementary school had an extra week built in because the state doesn’t require as many school days for elementary students as for middle and high schoolers.
“So we’re not cutting back on that with state requirements,” she said.
At the board meeting, board treasurer Ed Whritner voiced concern that adjusting the schedule a few weeks before the end of the school year would cause “turbulence,” and possible problems for families.
While he agreed the adjustment could pose issues for parents, especially in terms of child care, Superintendent Brian Hanson said expediting the construction process was important.
“With the construction that’s going on at the elementary school specifically, it’s imperative that they get done before school starts,” Hanson said. He added that Jaynes wanted all teachers’ classrooms to be boxed up and removed as early as possible, in order for the company to finish by fall.
Most board members agreed that leaving a week early was the way to go.
“We have to do what’s in the best interest of our construction project,” board President Blake Mitchell said.
Construction is coming along at the Mancos school. This week at the elementary school, according to the district website, Jaynes is beginning the restroom ceramic tile, finishing up the Sheetrock in the library and in the corridor, completing the ceiling grid in the administrative area, continuing work on the stone veneer at the north side of the building, and lathing the east side of the building.