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12-month-school Vote, No Bonding Bid Asked

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Board of Education Trustee William C. Godfrey proposed last night that plai:s for a spring bonding election tae scrapped and that a popular referendum on the establishment of yearround school operations be held instead. Godfrey said that his suggestion is the result of a "certain unrest among the people conIcerning taxes," and their apparent unwillingness to approve more tax hikes for school construction and operations. The trustee said implementation of his plan would make a bonding election unnecessary, because year-round operation of the schools would ."increase our existing schools' capacities by one third," and would have the same effect as building $18 million worth of new school buildings. Two weeks a go, Acting Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. recommended that a three-part school bonding proposal be offered to the voters May 13. The $8.5 million issue would be divided into three separate pacl ages, one for school buildings, classroom additions and renovations, the second for service and administration facilities, and the third for library additiöns, branch and branch sites According to Godfrey's plan the system should begin 12month school operations by the fall of 1970. The plan would be on a quarterly-basis, meaning hree-quarters of the students would be in school at all times, with one-quarter on vacation at all times. Godfrey also recommended ;hat a 5V2-mili sinking fund 'about $2.3 miUion) be estabished by a miiiage levy over ;he next two years to finance the needed service facility and administration building, the liDrary expansions and renovations to existing buildings. Another portion of the trustee's )lan would increase teachers' salaries "on a straight line basis," with a one-third increase for teaching 240 days a year instead of the now-required 180. Godfrey suggested that his proposal be given a thorough public hearing airing, and that a referendum be put to the electorate within six to eight months "so that they can make a decisión." (Implementation of the plan, however, would require changes in present state law). A number of trustees cautiously discussed Godfrey's proposal, and the general consensus seemed to be that it had some merit and should be further explored. Supt. Westermán and some trustees, however, mentioned some disadvantages which could result from 12-month operation of the schools. These would include "family disruptions," including problems of scheduling family vacations, along with problems of increased school maintenance andj the possible inability of teachers to adjust to a 12-month school year. According to Westerman, al:hough the year-round plan has been instituted by some school districts in the country from time to time, it has been generally considered a "failure." Godfrey responded that the new plan could raise a number of problems, but that these were not "unsolvable roadblocks." He then urged his fellow trustees to seriously consider his idea and to postpone a bonding election. It was decided to refer the suggestion to the superintendent for guidance in how to proceed with investigations of the yearround plan. The proposal will be on next week's agenda. If a May 13 bonding election gets the vote of the trustees, it must be set within a few weeks.