The Corvallis School District will continue to start its school year after Labor Day and continue sessions to the middle of June for the next three school years, the school board decided Thursday night.
The board voted unanimously to adopt calendars for the 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years at the board’s business meeting for December.
The 2020-21 school year will start Sept. 9 and end June 18, the 2021-22 school year will start Sept. 8 and end June 17, and the 2022-23 school year will start Sept. 7 and end June 16.
Rynda Gregory, teaching and learning coordinator for the district, said the district was trying to incorporate student feedback as it developed the calendars.
The meeting materials include survey results from more than 300 district high school students about their preferences for the school calendar. Of those surveyed, more than 48 percent answered affirmatively to a question about whether they wanted to start before Labor Day, while just over 28 percent said no to the question, with the remainder of students saying they were neutral on the question.
Sarah Finger McDonald, the board’s vice chair, asked Gregory if student results were different from the parents.
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Gregory said students generally favored starting the school year earlier than their parents do.
She said the calendar staff brought to the board for approval was developed as a balance between the desires of students, parents and district staff.
The board also voted to extend the contract it has with the Wenaha Group to manage projects that are part of a $200 million bond approved by voters in May 2018.
Meeting materials said the original contract with the project management firm was based on a timeline that would see all bond projects completed by the end of 2021, but the district had adjusted its construction timeline because of the difficult construction market.
“The high level of construction activity, particularly in the K-12 market has caused a reduction in contractor availability and has caused the district to adjust the construction schedule. Projects will be spread out over an additional year with bond work completion scheduled for December 31, 2022,” meeting materials said.
The extension of the contract adds nearly $658,000 in cost to the firm’s contract with the district, which was initially approved by the board in June 2018 for a cost of $4.9 million.
Meeting materials note there have also been additional projects the district is undertaking that were not in the scope of the firm’s initial contract that the firm will be managing. These projects include a solar array at the district office funded by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition; new secure vestibules at Corvallis and Crescent Valley high schools, which cost more than $352,000 in Construction Excise Tax funds; and seismic upgrades at Muddy Creek Charter School, which is located in the district’s former Inavale School Building. The seismic upgrades at Muddy Creek are expected to cost around $1.15 million and will be funded in part by a $903,000 state grant.
Kim Patten, director of facilities and transportation for the district, said the district will loan Muddy Creek, which is chartered to the district, the remainder of the funds to do the seismic upgrades, which the school will repay over time without interest.
Anthony Rimel covers education and crime in Benton County and weekend events across the Mid-Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-812-6091.