It’s still the Monday before Labor Day…Cocalico School Board sets Aug. 31 as start of 2015-16 academic year  

By on January 28, 2015

After considering an earlier start to the school year, the Cocalico School Board, at its Monday night meeting, approved Aug. 31 as the first day of classes on the 2015-16 calendar.

Dr. Bruce Sensenig, superintendent, said after the meeting that district officials and board members had several conversations about starting classes Aug. 24 but ran into some obstacles. Most significantly, a road construction project at the high school is expected to run into late August.

“Educationally, I’d like to move things forward,” said Sensenig. “You’d get finished earlier. The longer you go into June, the less meaningful it becomes…And of course, the more teaching time you can get in before the tests (including Keystone exams and the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments), the better.”

The adopted calendar runs through June 9 for students, with teachers’ last day on June 10. That’s comparable to recent years. It includes 181 class days, and five days designated as potential make-up days.

But Sensenig said this year’s late Labor Day holiday — Sept. 7 — made him want to at least explore the potential of an earlier start. Last year, all county schools except those in Warwick opened prior to Labor Day. Lancaster Mennonite School opened the earliest on Aug. 19. Most others went back on Aug. 25.

“We had more conversation on this than we’ve ever had,” Sensenig said.

Ultimately, conflicts with sports schedules and the pending road work led the board to stick with its typical calendar, he added.

Also on Monday, the board approved the 2015-16 budget for the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center. The district will pay an estimated $805,837, based on three-year projected enrollment figures. Actual amounts are finalized later, and the district often receives a reconciliation payment form the CTC. The trade school overall budget increased 1.9 percent to $18.4 million.

The board also agreed to send about $620,000 in overdue property taxes to the Lancaster Tax Claim Bureau for collection. Though the district has recently needed to collect as much as $728,000 in a single year, Sensenig said the delinquent amount generally comes from about 3.5 percent of all taxable properties in the district.

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