Balanced calendar creating uncertainty over sporting events

At the high end, Al Cooper could have a $10 thousand weekend. At the low end … well, Cooper isn’t sure how poor he might make out fiscally.

Monday marked the beginning of a two-week fall vacation for all of the Hancock County schools; this is the first school year Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine have adopted the “balanced calendar” approach to education, which is highlighted by a shorter summer break and longer vacations in the fall and spring.

Although child care has been a challenge for some parents of the younger kids, high school students, teachers and administrators seem to be enjoying the extra-long autumn respite, which was capped at two or three days on the traditional calendar.

The only concern for Cooper, New Palestine’s athletic director, is how the school intermission might affect sports event attendance.

The Dragons will host Mt. Vernon on Friday in the final regular season football game. Across the county, Greenfield-Central and Eastern Hancock will host volleyball sectionals next week. Mt. Vernon has a soccer regional today. The Cougars and Royals also have football games at home Friday.

Some fans and parents who normally attend games are using the two-week school vacation to take trips out of town. For the supporters and student-athletes remaining at home, there’s little opportunity for administrators to encourage and remind kids to attend the games, since they’re not in school each day.

“I think it will affect it, but don’t know to what degree,” Cooper said of the fall break and possible attendance issues Friday night. “Being Mt. Vernon, that’s always a rivalry, obviously. But, Mt. Vernon is out of school, too.

“I’m anxious to see the turnout.”

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