PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Monday, The Peoria Public Schools board faces a big decision regarding future school calendars. Their agenda included a proposal for a modified calendar that would shorten summer break, but extend breaks in the fall and spring.

In 2016, Peoria County taxpayers approved a sales tax vote which allowed air conditioning to be installed in each of District 150’s school buildings.

“So that we could kind of look at our schedule to do some things differently around continuously improving our outcomes,” said Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Peoria Public Schools superintendent.

Monday, the board is being asked to approve a modified school calendar starting in the fall of 2022. Dr. Kherat said input was received from about 90 community members and six committees on the issue.

Some notable changes include:

  • Students first day of school would begin August 3 instead of August 17
  • Fall break would increase from 3 days to 10 days
  • Spring break would increase from 5 days to 10 days
  • Summer break would be reduced from 54 days to 42 days

“Our primary reason for doing this is more around the social-emotional balance, and helping to reduce stress,” Kherat said.

Kherat added that limiting the impact of summer learning loss is a factor as well.

During the first week of spring and fall break, PPS would also offer academic support camp for K-8 students and credit recovery/catch up with work for high school students.

“I would say over time we would see some academic gains as well,” Kherat said.

At the Peoria Park District, leadership said a majority of spring or summer break camp users are PPS students, which makes potential calendar changes important.

“It helps us to look at our schedule to make sure we are programming in the best way to support our community,” said Emily Cahill, executive director of Peoria Park District.

Cahill added that the Park District’s workforce could be impacted due to high school students filling many jobs such as camp counselors and lifeguards.

Kherat said if the changes are approved they would extend into future school years as well.