Extending spring break decision postponed

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees want to give themselves, and stakeholders, an extra week to decide whether spring break should be extended to two weeks again next year.The school board was originally scheduled to make a decision  on March 28 – the first day back at school after this year’s trial two-week break – and the district is collecting feedback from the public.Staff estimate the extra week holiday will save about $500,000.But David Murchie, chairman of the business committee, said a motion was made at Wednesday’s meeting to extend the consultation by a week so that people have a chance to experience the extra vacation time and give trustees feedback on the impact.“It seemed a very reasonable thing to do,” he said. “If we have to make it so the budget schedule finishes a little later, so be it.”The original timeline was set so trustees could get the budget finished by April 27, enabling the staffing process to begin in a timely manner.The budget process can’t start until the calendar issue is decided because trustees want to consider the calendar change separately and the decision will substantially affect other budget cuts trustees might have to consider.The district is facing a budget shortfall that could be upward of $4 million if the calendar change is not approved.If the school board gives final approval to extend the consultation and decision on the school calendar issue at its meeting next week, public feedback will be collected until March 28 instead of March 21 and a decision will be made April 4.