Dubuque's Holy Family Schools to Consider Skipping Friday Late Starts

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Push back from parents has Dubuque's Holy Family Catholic Schools weighing their options for next year's school calendar.

Earlier this month, The Dubuque Community School Board approved next year's calendar.That includes a one hour late arrival every Friday.

Because Holy Family Catholic Schools share buses with the public schools, the two systems normally have the same schedule. But now, Holy Family administrators are considering foregoing those Friday late arrivals. Under the proposal, parents would be responsible for getting their children to school each Friday morning.

Last Friday, Holy Family administrators sent a survey to parents about that proposal.

"I was against it just because of the simple fact of all of the running around we'd have to incur on it," Holy Family Parent Jill Chapman-Cox said.

The Dubuque Community School District buses haul hundreds of catholic school students to and from class each day.

"We are accredited by the state of Iowa. So that's what gives us money for text books, for busing, for things like that," Holy Family Chief Administrator Carol Trueg said.

That puts Holy Family at the mercy of the public school's schedule. Some Holy Family parents are already complaining about those soon-to-be one hour late starts.

"[Parents say] we're already paying tuition and do not want to have an additional daycare cost on top of this." Trueg said. "We also looked at our care providers in our system. And they said they are set up so that they have one adult of every 15 children. That's our model. What are we going to do if all of a sudden we have 200 children who need before-school care?"

Trueg admits the change could attract public school students who don't want to deal with Friday late starts. However, she says her proposal aims to help students who are already enrolled in Holy Family Schools. She says it's not an effort to increase enrollment.

"We'd love to have more students but that's not behind this at all," said Trueg.

Administrators are asking parents to return the surveys by the end of this week. The Holy Family School board will make a decision about the calendar on March 11.
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