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In a survey, 65% of around 2,000 families and 71% of 500 staff said they favored the schedule change.

COURTESY PHOTO - Forest Grove School District Superintendent David Parker supported changing the calendar to extend the Thanksgiving holiday.Despite some prevarication, the Forest Grove School District's board of directors shot down a proposal to extend the Thanksgiving holiday during a special meeting Friday, Nov. 12.

The change to the calendar would have made Monday, Nov. 22, and Tuesday, Nov. 23, "teacher preparation days" without students on campus.

Members Narce Rodriguez, Brad Bafaro and Valyrie Ingram voted against the change, despite Superintendent David Parker's recommendation that the board approve it.

"This is primarily around teacher workload," Parker said. "I'm here recommending this, but the idea of losing student contact time, I don't like that. Our issues have to do with where we're at in our organization and where our teachers are at."

In a survey conducted by the school district, 65% of about 2,000 families and 71% of about 500 staff contacted said they would prefer to have the days without students on campus, and 19% of families said they would pick up school meals those days if they were available.

Parker added that the district has extra days off built into the calendar, typically for inclement weather.

This school year in Forest Grove and across Oregon, a shortage of substitute teachers is stretching schools thin. Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission Executive Director Anthony Rosilez told Pamplin Media Group in September that the number of active substitute teacher licenses in the state dropped from about 8,300 in December 2019 to about 4,700 this school year.

"I don't think there is a good answer for this agenda item. Our students need the instruction time, but our teachers are burnt out," Ingram said before voting against the proposal. "I'm concerned about child care for working parents and providing food service. I'm also really worried about the sub shortage and the burden it is putting on the staff."


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