Story by staff reporter Nora Drenner
Via an 8-3 vote, the Natchitoches Parish School Board has set its 2020-2021 school year calendar. Those casting a nay vote -Billy Benefield Jr, Eugene Garner and Russell Danzy- preferred the option president Benefield presented during the regular Feb. 6 meeting.
Discussion regarding next year’s school calendar ensued after concern was raised about the start and end date for support staff. Typically, principals work year-round, teachers work nine months and support staff work 10 months.
Some board members were concerned support staff, who work 2 weeks before the school start date and two weeks after the conclusion of the school year, would not have a full two months off and thus the district would have to foot the bill for a additional days
However, that concern was nixed when it was noted calendar days, rather than two full months are what determine the ten months, and the proposed calendar did not add extra workdays. Also noted was the proposed calendar was a collaborative effort endorsed by principals, teachers and support staff.
The calendar presented by Benefield gave support staff a full seven weeks between the end of this school year and the start of the next school year, rather than 6 weeks and two days proposed in the original calendar. Board member Reba Phelps commented there werenow two calendars to consider—the one favored by principals, teachers and support, and the Benefield one.
Following discussion, Phelps moved, and board member Katrina Willis seconded to approve the original proposed calendar. Board members Rhonda Guidroz, Tan’Keia Palmer,
Dorothy McGaskey, Steven Harris, Beverly Broadway and Emile Metoyer agreed, and the motion passed. As such, next school year, the first day for teachers is Monday, Aug. 3, with students starting Thursday,Aug. 6. The last day for students is May 20, and the last day for teachers is May 21. Fall break is Oct. 19-23, Thanskgiving break is Nov. 23-27, Winter/Christmas break is Dec. 22-Jan. 1, Mardi Gras break is Feb. 15-19, Spring break is March 22-26 and Easter break is April 2-5.