Two weeks ago, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was going to be a Platteville Public Schools day off, spring break was going to be two days, and the 2016–17 school year was going to end June 8.
Two weeks later after a 7–1 vote, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be a class day, spring break will last three days, and the 2016–17 school year will end June 7.
The Platteville School Board’s change of heart on the schedule was in part because of an error by the software that plotted out the school schedule, an error PPS superintendent Connie Valenza said was not seen by “at least a couple hundred eyes on that calendar.”
Valenza said the software did not display Sunday, Oct. 30 or Monday, Oct. 31, leading Oct. 31 to be an unintended day off. Putting Oct. 31 back on the calendar allowed for a day off elsewhere on the calendar.
That prompted school board member Eric Fatzinger to move to add a third day of spring break, March 15, to the original March 16–17 plan. Fatzinger also moved to restore Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a day of school, and end school one day earlier, June 7.
Until this year Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a day off for students, but an inservice day for teachers.
Fatzinger said MLK Day should be considered a day similar to Veterans Day or Presidents Day. “If you take the day off, you lose all opportunity to discuss” the importance of King and the holiday.
School board member Heather Connolly said a survey two years ago included overwhelming support of a full week of spring break, as well as ending school earlier in June.
School board member Steve Obershaw voted against the new calendar. School board member Abulkhair Masoom, who had opposed making MLK Day a class day two weeks ago, was absent.
The 2016–17 school year also includes Dec. 23, the day before Christmas Eve, off, but includes a two-day spring break, March 16–17, and Good Friday, April 14. The final day of 2016–17 classes will be June 8, barring extra days due to weather cancellations.
Scheduling for 2016–17 was a challenge because of the desire for extra time to finish the $16.6 million PPS building project before classes start. School will begin Sept. 6, five days after school is allowed to start by state law.