Camas School Board OKs new 2023-24 calendar following strike

Thanksgiving, winter breaks shortened; last day, graduations remain intact

The Camas School Board has OK’d a new 2023-24 school year calendar following a teachers’ strike that caused students and staff to miss seven school days in late August and early September.

The new calendar keeps Friday, June 14, as the last day of school, changes the district’s inclement weather makeup days and impacts Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

To make up for the seven lost school days, the new calendar skips an in-service day planned for Oct. 13, eliminate two planned inclement weather days on Feb. 16 and March 8, and shortens Thanksgiving break by one day (Nov. 22) and winter break by three days (Dec. 18-20).

Camas School District Superintendent John Anzalone said the district will allow students and staff to have early-release days Nov. 22 and Dec. 20.

“We know families may have already made plans (for the holiday breaks),” Anzalone said during a special Camas School Board meeting held Monday, Sept. 18, but district administrators thought it was better to “salvage June as much as possible.”

Under the new calendar, Camas students’ spring break, set for April 1-5, will remain unchanged, as will the district’s planned high school graduate dates: June 5 (Camas Connect Academy), June 6 (Discovery High), June 7 (Camas High) and June 8 (Hayes Freedom).

“We did not want to shift graduations,” Anzalone said Monday. “We learned very quickly that those are, in our community, planned way in advance, so we didn’t want to impact graduations.”

If the district needs to account for days missed due to inclement weather, Anzalone said the new inclement-weather makeup days will be May 24, June 17-18 and June 20-21, with a day off on June 19 for the Juneteenth holiday.

Camas teachers went on strike for higher cost-of-living increases, maximum classroom sizes and more equitable funding for music, library, physical education and health programs on what was supposed to have been the first day of the 2023-24 school year: Monday, Aug. 28. Members of the Camas Education Association, the union representing around 460 Camas educators, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract Thursday, Sept. 7, and returned to their classrooms the following day, on Friday, Sept. 8.

Under the proposed calendar, Camas elementary students will have early release days every Wednesday and middle and high schools will have 16 early-release Wednesdays throughout the year, including Sept. 20, Oct. 4 and 18, Nov. 1 and 15 and Dec. 13 in 2023 and Jan. 3 and 17, Feb. 7 and 21, March 6 and 20, April 17, May 1 and 15 and June 5 in 2024.

Camas School District Superintendent John Anzalone said state law requires the district to offer 180 days of instruction.

“The state will grant no exceptions to that law because of a strike,” Anzalone said.