The Olentangy school board voted unanimously last week to shift spring break forward for the 2014-15 school year.
At its meeting Thursday, April 10, the board approved moving spring break from March 16-20, 2015, to March 30 through April 3. The calendar change also shifted the last day of school from May 22, 2015, to May 21.
Superintendent Wade Lucas said the decision was not taken lightly by the board and administration.
"To those that have made plans for next year, we definitely apologize for that, but there is a rationale," Lucas said.
He said the state originally told the district the class of 2016 would be the last class to take the Ohio Graduation Test.
The district was informed recently, Lucas said, that the class of 2017 and, possibly, the class of 2018 also will have to take the OGT.
Lucas said the state requires districts to give the test between March 16 and 23, or move it up to March 2.
"Given the winter we've currently gone through ... we felt the best option in regards to our kids, as far as fairness ... was to give them as much opportunity and time (to prepare) as possible," he said.
The OGT, which students must pass to graduate, typically is administered for the first time in the spring of their sophomore year. Students who do not pass the test can retake it multiple times in their junior and senior years, if necessary.
Lucas said it might be time to reconsider the district's policy of approving school calendars as early as possible to take into account how testing dates and standards can fluctuate. The schedule for the 2014-15 school year originally was approved in fall 2013.
"In the past we've been very adamant about approving calendars two or three years in advance," he said.
Board member Julie Wagner Feasel said she'd received emails from five parents who already had made spring-break plans for 2015 who were against the calendar change. She said she sympathized with them, but could not vote against the revision.
"I have to make the decision that's based on the best academic performance of our students," she said.