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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Proposed early start calendar has advantages, but raises concerns

With the school year coming to an end, the school board has begun making preparations for future years. One of the propositions is a new calendar, which would start the 2014-15 school year on Aug. 11 and end school on May 29. If passed, the calendar would affect all school districts in Los Gatos and Saratoga.
The calendar committee was presented two calendars, one that started Aug. 11 and one that started Aug. 18, said principal Paul Robinson, who is a member on the calendar committee. Starting earlier on Aug. 11 would balance the number of days in first and second semester.
The other calendar, which mirrors this year’s schedule, starts a week later on Aug. 18 and ends on June 4.
“When you teach a semester class like Government, Economics or World Geography, you have about a week and a half less time in first semester when compared to second semester,” Robinson said. “The people who are for [the proposed calendar] are the social studies department because they are the ones who teach the majority of the semester classes.”
Another advantage in starting school early is the extra week students would have to prepare for their AP tests. Starting earlier would give students an additional eight or nine days of classes before taking the test, Robinson said.
Many people, however, are concerned with the proposed early start schedule.
“So far, I’m not quite sure if anybody wants to do it,” Robinson said. “We have been getting feedback from parents, teachers, and athletics and some of the major stakeholders just to see if this is something they would want to do.”
Because this schedule cuts more into August, some parents are concerned that there would be less vacation time. Although summer break would be as long as it is now, many families take vacations in August and the early start to the school year would cut into their family time, Robinson said. 
Another issue with the proposed schedule is the potential clash between early fall sports trainings and late spring sport games.
“[The fall sports] are used to having a little more time to practice and not having school interfere with things,” Robinson said. “[The spring sports] may be playing in June after graduation. Students that have already graduated from high school would still be playing for the high school team.”
The proposed calendar has both advantages and disadvantages, Robinson said.
“I really don’t know which way it’s going to go,” Robinson said. “It’ll be interesting to find out.”
The committee is currently collecting data on the calendars, and the board will make a decision in August.
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