Greenfield-Central nears decision on changes to school calendar

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield-Central school board is leaning toward a 2016-17 school calendar that would put children on fall break during the Riley Festival and in session on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Superintendent Harold Olin told the board Monday there was no ideal calendar; all four options presented to the public had faults. But “Option 1” made the most sense, Olin said, since it balances each quarter with a two-week break.

Students would finish school before Memorial Day in 2017. A drawback is that they would be in session on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which goes against what the school has done in recent history.

Still, being in the classroom on the holiday isn’t without its benefits, Olin added.

“We’ve been in school on MLK Day on multiple occasions; we use that as an opportunity to explain the significance of the day,” Olin said.

Another drawback is that the calendar puts students out of session during the Riley Festival, while for years the school district has partnered with the festival board to bring some 300 third-graders downtown for the Children’s Parade of Flowers. Still, Riley Festival board president Anthony Scott has said the parade will go on but perhaps in a different format.

School board President Retta Livengood said she likes the idea of opening up the parade to all children and maybe even their parents and grandparents.

“I think there’s a lot of creative efforts out there that can still make it a wonderful experience if children are in town and want to participate,” Livengood said.

Olin said the calendar would put children on spring break a week earlier than in recent years. That could mean students would take standardized tests earlier, though the dates for ISTEP in 2017 haven’t been announced.

All four calendar options are found at The public is encouraged to review the options and send comments to

Olin said of the 81 people who voiced an opinion so far, “there was no overwhelming favorite.” Teachers didn’t favor one calendar over the other, he added, but rather responded to a survey that they wanted to keep two-week breaks in the fall and spring.

Final approval of the calendar is expected on July 13. The three other school corporations in Hancock County already have approved a 2016-2017 school calendar.

“Looking at all four options, I feel this is probably the best one for all of our students,” board member Ray Kerkhof said.