R-II Board Adopts Updated 2021-22 Calendar

By MARK EVANS

mevans@stegenherald.com

Ste. Genevieve R-II School Board members adjusted the 2021-22 calendar and looked at enrollment.

The meeting was held virtually, more due to inclement weather than to COVID-19 concerns.

Dr. Julie Flieg, superintendent of schools,  reported that enrollment was 1,753 at the end of January, compared to the estimated 1,779 on the first day of school and the 1,776 public count at the end of September.

The January figure is down from the January 2020 count of 1,826 and the January 2019 count of 1,787.

With the pandemic, Flieg said this was “not too surprising.”

“A lot of parents chose to take their children to home school,” she said. She said “quite  few” parents of potential 2020-21 kindergartners opted to hold their children out a year before starting them.

Enrollment is up for pre-K students, though, with 72 at the end of January, compared to 71 a year ago and 68 two years ago. The 72 is also well up from the first day estimate of 56 and the end of September figure of 58 this school year.

“We’re real excited and proud of those numbers,” Flieg said. “We are concerned about what were seeing with the pandemic.”

Flieg gave a reminder that Ste. Genevieve kindergarten registration in 8 a.m. to noon, March 6 and at Bloomsdale, 8 a.m. – tonoon, March 27. Scheduling of appointments began on Feb.. 8.

The building principals did not give their monthly reports.

“There were a few bumps,” Flieg said, “but overall the teachers and building principals were very pleased at how things went.”

The district had just started four-day-a-week live learning when the weather forced it back to remote learning.

She encouraged parents to reach out to teachers with any questions.

Flieg added that she is “very proud” to work with the board, noting that it was National School Board Week.

David Bova, board president said the board is “fairly united” in opposition to several proposed bills that would support charter schools and one that would move school board elections from April to November.

“Those bills could hurt public schools,” he said.

Flieg added that Senate Bill 55 also has a provision that waives attendance requirements for home school students that public school students must meet.

“It creates  a double standard that just isn’t fair to kids in general,” Flieg said.

Bova said these bills would take public tax dollars and allow it to be spent at charter or parochial schools – even at for-profit charter schools.

There are similar bills in the Missouri House.

CALENDAR CHANGES ARE APPROVED

Some changes were incorporated into the previously proposed 2021-22 calendar.

First semester will now end at the beginning of Christmas break, rather than extending into January, as previously scheduled.

Finals will be held Dec. 20-22.

“We received several comments along that line that, especially in particular, middle school and high school teachers would prefer we did that if we could.”

She said it  will create a bit of an imbalance, with 82 school days first semester and 90 days second semester, but added that “We don’t think it’s significant enough to really cause an issue.”

August 23 will be the first day of school, with no school on Friday, Sept. 3 and Monday, Sept. 6 due to a professional development (PD) day and Labor Day. On Oct. 28, half a day of school will be held, with no school on Oct. 29, for parent-teacher conferences.

There is no school on  Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11. School dismisses early on Wednesday, Nov. 22 for Thanksgiving and resumes Monday, Nov. 29. At Christmas, there is a partial day of school on Dec. 22, then no school until Jan. 6.

PD days will be Feb. 18 and March 11, with Jan. 17 off for President’s Day and Feb. 21 off for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

April 13 will be a partial day, with students off until Monday, April 19 for Easter.

May 20 is the final day of school, with May 21 being graduation.

Potential make-up weather days for students extend through May 27, while employees potentially could have contracted make-up days  through June 6, with a make-up PD day for teachers June 7.

The calendar provides for 1,108 hours, well above the required 1,044 hours.

Flieg said 40 or 41 of 57 comments on the revised calendar were positive.

The board unanimously voted to adopt the revised calendar.