Dist. 86 board OKs early release plan

Hinsdale High School District 86 Board members last week signed off on 2022-23 school calendar that includes 15 early release days.

The 5-2 vote in favor of the schedule, as part of its approval of the district’s three-year calendar, came two weeks after a majority of the board expressed misgivings with the idea. Board members Jeff Waters, Peggy James and Debbie Levinthal said they expected to see an alternative option presented at the meeting, But district administrators said the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, which had already agreed to lower the number of collaborative hours from a contractually required 30 to 23, was not interested in revisiting negotiations.

“We cannot force the association to come back to the table and discuss this because we have contract language on this,” said Cheryl Moore, assistant superintendent of human resources. “(The HHSTA) came for two months and tried to work — when they didn’t have to work — to come up with something that was going to be better than what we had.”

The early release Wednesdays will be used instead of late start days and some flex days to give teachers more time to collaborate, especially across the district.

Waters said at the April 28 meeting that he would like instructional time to get back to pre-pandemic level of 1,024 hours. The proposal accords 1,003 hours instructional time, up from 998 in the current year. Waters expressed disappointment that the board did not have more lead time to shape the calendar.

“We were simply operating under the calendar that we were given, which perhaps should have been revised and visited prior,” he said.

Ongoing construction has pushed the first day of school into September, complicating scheduling. Board member Debbie Levinthal said she was troubled by the process.

“The process was poorly communicated at the last meeting that there was going to be (an alternate proposal) that came back,” said Levinthal, who ultimately sided with the majority.

Board members Cynthia Hanson and Terri Walker said the concerns they raised in April 28 had been allayed.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean