Elizabethtown Area School District

When: Elizabethtown Area school board meeting, Feb. 9.

What happened: With just over half of survey respondents approving of the district’s plan to start school during the week of the Elizabethtown Fair this August, the administration is recommending board approval of a proposed calendar for the next school year. Superintendent Michele Balliet said 1,345 people responded to the survey.

The plan: School would start Monday, Aug. 23, the first day of the Elizabethtown Fair, with students attending for half days during that first week. With the earlier start, school would end Thursday, May 26, 2022, before Memorial Day weekend. Balliet said the calendar is being proposed as a one-year pilot because of the upcoming transitions of sixth grade to the middle school and third grade to Bear Creek School.

What’s next: The school board will vote on the calendar at the Feb. 23 meeting.

Cyber-charter school payments: The district’s cost for outside cyber-charter tuition has essentially doubled from $1.2 million last year to $2.2 million this year, said Dan Forry, director of finance and operations, because of COVID-19.

Welding course: Board members approved initial design work to create space at the high school for a welding certification program, which could start next school year, at cost of about $48,000.

Honors curriculum criticized: Parent Danielle Lindemuth told the board of her concerns about the curriculum and materials used in her daughter’s ninth-grade honors English class. Lindemuth said the books and movies to be used contain disturbing material, including sexuality, vulgarity and violence. Titles she named were “The House on Mango Street,” “The Hate U Give,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” (book and movie) and the 1996 movie version of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Quotable: “As a parent, I find these topics to be highly inappropriate and volatile that you’re going to be teaching to my daughter,” Lindemuth said.

Board response: President Terry Seiders asked that the administration look into whether the curriculum and materials follow guidelines from the state Department of Education.

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