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The embattled proposal for a 2011-12 Lincoln Public Schools calendar was tweaked again Tuesday to move the start of school later in August.

The Lincoln Board of Education tabled a third calendar proposal -- introduced during its meeting Tuesday -- which would make several changes including moving the first day of school from the Aug. 15 to Aug. 17.

The board now is expected to vote on the calendar at the June 22 meeting.

Board member Don Mayhew made the proposal, saying the second option -- which would have made the first day Aug. 15 -- was a good start but could be better. The original calendar proposal before the board included an Aug. 10 start date.

He recommended more changes that would accomplish two goals: starting the school year later and shortening winter break by one day.

At previous meetings some board members said they thought the winter break was too long, causing child care problems for many parents.

Board member Lillie Larsen, among those who wanted a shorter winter break, said she liked Mayhew's suggestions.

"They're small (changes) but they're big at the same time," she said.

Mayhew's proposal would:

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  • Start school Aug. 17 (instead of Aug. 15);
  • Move fall break from Oct. 17 to Oct. 21. It would remain shortened to a three-day weekend;
  • Move the last day of second semester from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23. That means winter break would be from Dec. 26 (Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 fall on the weekend) to Jan. 6;
  • Change the last day of school from May 23 to May 24.

The changes would keep the quarters close to equal days, a priority for teachers.

A committee of parents and staff members originally had proposed a calendar that would have started school Aug. 10 and shortened fall break from a week to four days. Their goal: to end first semester before winter break, something 63 percent of parents and staff surveyed said that was a priority.

But the district and school board was inundated with complaints about starting school so early in August, so the district came up with a second option, which would have pushed the start of school back to Aug. 15 and shortened fall break from four days to one.

Parent Carmen Skare thanked the board for being responsive to parents' concerns and urged the board to consider lengthening summer vacation in future years.

Reach Margaret Reist at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

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