District 150 officials are retreating a bit from the original plan to shorten school days on Wednesdays.
An amendment proposed this week would limit to 15 the number of those days earmarked for early dismissal.
A 2008-09 school calendar submitted earlier this month to the Peoria County Regional Office of Education contained 23 such days at the primary school level.
Superintendent Ken Hinton said Thursday the cutback will allow the district to ease into the new schedule.
"I want to move into this gradually instead of all at once," Hinton said. He noted the cutback will give principals and other staff members the chance to prepare for the shortened days, which are designed to give time for teachers to improve their teaching abilities and examine student performance data.
Of the 15 days, six are district-wide half-day school improvement days, a practice nearly all school districts incorporate throughout the school year. In past years, these school improvement days were held on Fridays, but under the amended school calendar, they would be shifted to Wednesdays.
The remaining nine days - reduced from 17 - will affect only 12 of the district's 16 primary schools. Those students would start the day at 8:45 a.m. and end at 1:45 p.m., as opposed to the usual 3:15 p.m.
Hinton said the reduction in the number of early release days also comes from his discussions with parents, teachers and some "naysayers."
The last-minute revision this week is another step back from what originally was proposed as a 45-minute early release from each school day at those same 12 primary schools. That was scaled back from every day to 90 minutes every Wednesday, and now to just 15 Wednesdays - of which six would have been taken place regardless.
Since a plan seeking to shorten the school day was announced, the district has met with opposition by several parents and some teachers at each of the subsequent School Board meetings, as well as at least one demonstration in front of district administration offices.
If the amended school calendar is approved, the primary schools affected at District 150 would have 159 pupil attendance days, the least in Peoria County. The average is about 167 days. By contrast, District 150 counted 166 pupil attendance days last year.
Hinton has emphasized the need for more professional development, if the district is to see any dramatic improvement in student achievement.
The School Board is expected to vote Monday on the amended school calendar.