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Divided APS board allows alternative calendar option

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Seven schools operating on an alternative calendar will have the chance to keep the unique schedule.

But supporting another calendar is expected to cost Albuquerque Public Schools hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At an early Monday meeting, a divided Board of Education voted 4-3 to include the alternative calendar as an option for staff and families to vote on.

The schedule will be among the possibilities for next school year for those schools that already use an alternative system.

On an alternative schedule, the school year starts earlier and there are intersessions in the spring and fall.

On Monday, Barbara Petersen, who voted to allow the alternative calendar, said staff didn’t feel included in the decision making.

Initially, APS presented three calendars for schools to vote on: one traditional and two with extended school years.

Earlier this month, teachers urged the board to include the long-time alternative schedule.

“First off, the real issue is that the schools felt like they hadn’t been involved in the conversation at all,” Petersen said.

While she voted in support of the calendar for next school year, Petersen also said the board should consider a single calendar for the future.

Mary Ann Binford Elementary School teacher Celina Stoyanof and fellow teacher Lynette Baca said they are glad the board listened to their concerns, adding that it made them feel like their work was valued.

Board members who voted no said the price tag was a big factor and there was some concern about the tight time line to make changes in the calendar process.

APS officials said $400,000 extra in administrative cost is needed for an additional schedule, which would go toward more staff to help out in departments such as student information, payroll and human resources.

Monday’s vote comes in the nick of time.

Stoyanof told the Journal that the school is slated to vote on calendars on Wednesday.

Schools across the district are in the process of picking a 2020-21 school year calendar, most choosing between the three original options.

The district has said schools have until Feb. 12 to make a final decision.

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