Local school kids could soon be getting two weeks off for spring break every year.
At a meeting Tuesday, the Chilliwack school board directed district staff to come up with a long-term plan for an extended break each year, bringing to an end the district's flip-flopping between one-and twoweek breaks in recent years.
The move is long overdue, according to District Parent Advisory Council treasurer Don Davis, who said parents want certainty when it comes to the break regardless of how long it is.
"If we're going to do it, let's just do it," he said after the meeting. "A decision should be made that we are either a one-week spring break district or a two-week spring break district and stop changing it up because people make holiday plans well in advance."
Trustees first approved an extended break as a cost-saving measure for 2010-2011.
But that decision angered CUPE staff and teachers on call who lost a week of work, and irked working parents who had to scramble to arrange childcare for the extra week.
No sooner had schools moved back to a one-week break this year, however, than the board once again directed district staff to look into extending the break in 20122013-this time because the end of the vacation on next year's calendar comes just four days before Good Friday.
Public input, gathered through a survey on the district website for nine days between April 10 and 19, largely supports a longer break.
Of the 2,421 responses, 83 per cent were in favour of a two-week break, 13 per cent were opposed and four per cent were neutral.
Parents supplied most of the input with 1,070 responses, 78 per cent of whom were in favour and 20 per cent of which were opposed.
Support was highest among the 412 teachers who responded, with 95 per cent indicating they were in favour of a longer break.
Support was lowest amongst support staff, with 74 per cent saying they were for it, 16 per cent saying they were opposed and 10 per cent saying they were neutral.
Comments on the survey also called for the district to come up with a long-term plan for the break, according to superintendent Michael Audet.
"We saw a number of comments from people who said, 'Why go through this every year?'" he said. "'Why can't we have a two-week spring break every year?' So we said, 'We're going to need to look into that.'"
To get an extended break in place, the board also directed staff to begin negotiations with the Chilliwack Teachers' Association and CUPE, a process that could be complicated by recent changes to the School Act brought in by Bill 22, the legislation that ordered teachers back to work in March.
Audet wouldn't discuss what those complications might be, saying only "We have to sit down with our unions and talk to them about it, and that's been made more clear to us recently."