(Kinnear, WY) – Around 40 parents and community members gathered at the Kinnear Fire Hall on the evening of April 1st to discuss their concerns about the 2022-23 Fremont County School District #6 academic calendar.
This was the second meeting for the “Concerned families of Wind River Students” and as it stands the updated academic calendar has been submitted to the Wyoming Department of Education.
The changes, as compared to the current calendar, include a later start date – Aug. 23rd instead of Aug. 16th – and a later end date – June 15th (June 1st for seniors) instead of May 26th. School days are shorter under the new calendar, too, ending at 3:16 pm instead of 3:50 pm.
The question of why a new calendar was needed was mentioned Friday night. One parent noted that it was because of a change at the state level, however, the exact change is unclear.
Several parents told County 10 that they felt “blindsided” by the new calendar because they never received the messages and surveys that were reported to have been sent out through the school’s automated system, leaving them out of the loop until it was too late.
Others were not given enough time to take off from work to attend the two public meetings that happened on March 1st and 2nd. The first notification about the meeting was reportedly sent out six days before the first meeting on February 23rd. Some parents said they work two weeks on and two weeks off in the oilfield and others need to request time off two weeks in advance.
The shorter school days have also created a significant concern amongst many parents, especially those who work in Riverton and Lander. They would now need to leave work even earlier, which causes a financial impact.
Extending the school year until June 15th is also a point of contention. Concerns were also raised that teachers and students will leave because of these calendar changes, impacting the district as a whole.
The parents plan to approach the school board at their April 11th meeting in hopes of rescinding the submitted calendar and opening it up for dialogue. They recognize that there will be parents who are impacted by a new calendar but hope to find a middle ground where all the voices are heard.