Yukon plans common school calendar for all communities

Yukon's education department is pushing ahead to set a common school calendar for all communities, and the changes aren't sitting well with some.

Some concerned changes will affect attendance rates

Yukon's education department wants to set a common school calendar for all communities.

The proposed change would mean all schools in the territory would begin and end on the same days in the fall and spring.

The idea isn't sitting well with everyone.

Scott Kent, the Yukon Minister of Education, is going ahead with plans to make all public schools in the territory open and close on the same days. (CBC)

The school in Dawson City, for example, starts in mid-August and ends at the end of May each year. The school council chair there, Sue Lancaster, said that schedule is more in synch with seasonal jobs and seasonal daylight hours.

Lancaster said changing the school year 20 years ago was a big success.

"There were huge improvements across the board for attendance rates across the board, for getting better marks in class. It was made very clear at our public meeting, as well our council meeting, that our community is saying ‘hold on, we need more information, we need to ask the minister direct questions’," she said.

She adds previous ministers have always agreed to let local school councils tailor the school year to what's best for the students.

Mark O'Donaghue is on the school council in Mayo. He said it's a concern there, too.

"We would really lose our ability to have much say in setting the school calendar."

Both O'Donaghue and Lancaster said adding more school days in June won't work because long hours of daylight combined with hot weather will make it hard for kids to concentrate on their studies.

Lancaster has asked education minister Scott Kent, or his deputy, to come to the community to explain the reasoning behind the proposed changes.