Winona County school board votes to keep spring break

Winona County school board votes to keep spring break

Morgan Reddekopp, Editor-in-Chief

The Winona County school board has voted 5-2 in favor of keeping spring break for all schools within the district.

There were two options that were voted on during the meeting.

Option one was to have a spring break and end the school year later. Option two was to eliminate spring break and end the school year earlier.

Board members ended up discussing the options for over an hour.

In a survey sent out to parents of students in the district, many of them voiced very strong opinions in favor of having a spring break. A large reason behind this was due to the fact that many people feel that students and faculty members need a mental break from school.

The survey also had opinions from parents who wanted to eliminate spring break. Many parents started having trouble finding childcare for just one week of the year.

Parent Ted Hazelton voiced his concerns at the beginning of the board meeting during the “public comment” section in favor of option two. He read an editorial letter he wrote to the Winona Post March 27 entitled “School Board, just say ‘no’ to spring break”. In his letter, he addressed issues such as parents being unable to find childcare and unpaid bus drivers.

During discussion Clerk Michael Hanratty, representing the 2nd district of Winona County, voiced concern about students who are unable to eat regular meals outside of school. His comments caused a divide throughout the school board. Many members agreed that students and faculty members need a break but were also concerned for students who may need additional food while not in school.

After discussion, option one was voted on for approval and was voted down 3-4. Option two was also voted down 3-4.

School board chair Nancy Denzer (at-large) proposed an approval on option one while also having the schoolboard search for more options to get food to children in need during all breaks. This option passed 5-2.

Despite originally voicing much concern over option one, Hanratty is happy with the modified option that passed.

“My biggest concern was for the students who only get consistent meals at school,” Hanratty said. “To now be able to look at possibilities by the direction of the board to make sure our kids are fed is a success.”

Hazelton voiced that while he is happy some of his concerns will be addressed, he wished that option two was chosen.

“I’m happy that (the board) is looking for accommodations for some of the issues that I brought up but I still believe that it is a major hassle for the vast majority of parents with school-aged kids and it does so much disruption to the students’ schedules,” Hazelton said.

Among the issues not addressed by the school board will be special needs students and unpaid bus drivers. Hazelton has two children with special needs and has observed that the disrupted schedule negatively impacted them.

Hazelton is also a bus driver for the school district and stated how difficult it can be to go unpaid for a week for many other bus drivers.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included the county’s drop in enrollment of 35 students in the last month.

The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.