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School Calendar Strategies. The “Bite the Bullet” Approach. Least complicated (but maybe hardest politically) – take fewer “days off” Squeeze in days during regular work weeks, maintain same number of days PROS Don’t have to change salary schedule, “contract” terms stay intact

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the bite the bullet approach
The “Bite the Bullet” Approach
  • Least complicated (but maybe hardest politically) – take fewer “days off”
    • Squeeze in days during regular work weeks, maintain same number of days


    • Don’t have to change salary schedule, “contract” terms stay intact
    • Doesn’t lead to overtime issues
    • Less disruptive, less administrative change needed


    • Drop in morale
    • Students and employees are used to certain breaks
    • Parental complaints
the longer school day approach
The “Longer School Day” Approach


  • Don’t have to cut holidays or breaks
  • Less risk in case of weather days
  • Can add small increments of time each day – less dramatic impact


  • Could create serious overtime problems
  • Salary schedule fallout
    • Changes daily rate
    • De facto “raise” in daily rate
    • Require more modifications, explanation in salary schedule
  • More difficult to deal with administratively
  • Family issues – daycare, work schedules, etc.
so which approach is best from a legal practitioner s perspective
So … Which Approach is Best?– From a legal practitioner’s perspective –

The “Bite the Bullet” Approach

(Stick with 180 days)

rationale for recommendation
Rationale for Recommendation
  • The least complicated administrative approach is the “Bite the Bullet” Approach
  • Fewer overtime concerns
  • Salary schedule does not have to change
  • Other established work terms and conditions can remain the same (i.e., daily rate of pay, “contract hours,” scheduled work times)
  • Can simply change calendar to reflect shorter school year
  • Accustomed to this sort of change
if you add days to workweek or hours to days
If You Add “Days” to Workweekor Hours to Days

We have some things to think about . . .

  • Salary schedule
  • Overtime
  • Policy/handbook conflicts
  • Scheduling
  • Other fundamental or structural issues, depending on approach
salary schedules
Salary Schedules
  • Typically contain job titles and chart of salaries
  • Most often salaries reflected as annual rate
  • Schedules must meet (or exceed) state matrix for some employees
  • Schedules must have “steps”
  • Some are quite detailed – some are quite simple
salary schedules1
Salary Schedules
  • In addition to charts of numbers, most schedules have some terms and conditions which impact salary, such as:
    • Number of days salary covers (e.g., 187)
    • Number of hours each day that salary covers (e.g., 7.5, 8)
    • Holidays, vacations, sick days
    • Formulas for overtime, salary reduction
    • Supplement information
    • “Conversion” data
    • How to apply data
    • Expectations for earning salary
salary schedules2
Salary Schedules
  • Much litigation over salary schedules
    • Placement, conversion, form
    • Equal protection
  • Establishes “expectations” related to pay
  • Changing salary schedules always needs to be carefully considered – changes have a “ripple” effect
  • “Contractual” language
  • If changed in any way to raise compensation, very difficult to lower it back down
  • Adding days or hours to work week has overtime implications
  • For most full time employees, could result in overtime
  • If add Saturdays, can just pay for the day – if structured right, the “day” will be built into salary and will only have to pay 1/2 time for the overtime (“overtime premium”)
  • If not thought through, can change formula for “daily” rate (and thus the hourly rate)
  • Adding hours to days can also have overtime implications – depending on when you do it
  • Can be confusing – Board is paying for the base hour as part of salary – really only owe an overtime premium if extra hours are in salary.
  • Will result in extra cost though
  • The obvious solution of just letting someone go home early to avoid overtime means employee won’t work obligated time


  • Working obligated time will result in overtime
  • Overtime problems can be magnified
policy handbook conflicts
Policy/Handbook Conflicts
  • Board materials matter – employees, students, parents, and community rely on them
  • If the work day changes, there is much to modify – work schedules, class schedules, bus schedules, etc.
  • Provisions are in memos, letters, handbooks
  • Policies and handbooks sometimes include specific definitions of work week, school day, work day, hours of work, etc. – have to resolve conflicts
  • Logistical issues
  • If add to day, add morning or afternoon? – weigh staffing consequences
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Opening and closing building – who will take care of?
  • Has to be consistent and clear
some preliminary thoughts
Some Preliminary Thoughts
  • Using holidays, break days, etc. is easiest approach
  • Using e-days or innovative strategies will take care of overtime issue, but have to figure out when classified employees can make up the day
  • Saturday school may be a workable approach, especially if the Saturday falls in a short work week (no overtime issues)
  • Extending the school day can also work, especially if extended only in short weeks (e.g., could make up a full instructional day by staying late only on certain days)
regardless of approach
Regardless of Approach
  • Be clear with employees
  • Don’t get cute – call it like we see it
  • Put arrangements or changes in writing – think about a letter
  • Clear understanding on modification to salary computations, limitations, and nature of changes (e.g., are they temporary?)
  • Communicate with Board
    • They are hearing from parents, teachers, and students who want to keep the days off
    • Make sure consequences of that approach are clear so they can be considered