The Fowler School District Board of Education Monday night approved the 2017-2018 school calendar.

The Fowler School District Board of Education Monday night approved the 2017-2018 school calendar.

Presented with four options, the board approved the calendar most popular with staff. It has a start date of Aug. 14-16 for staff workshops and Aug. 17 for students. Students will be released on May 18 and the final staff in-service day is May 21. Graduation will be May 11, 2018.

The biggest change between the four options presented centered around Christmas vacation. The calendar favored by staff and approved by the board has the end of first semester and Christmas vacation starting at the end of a regular school day on Dec. 22. Staff will return Jan. 8 and students will return Jan. 9.

Some of the other options included beginning the break a few days before Dec. 22 and returning earlier in January.

Health insurance

The board approved the proposal by CEBT regarding employee medical insurance. The rates, effective July 1, 2017, will remain the same as the current year. District Business Manager Mike Thomas said the district has not had a rate increase in two years and a small increase of 1.5 percent three years ago. Superintendent Steven Grasmick said many other school districts are seeing increases anywhere between 6 percent and 24 percent.

“This is a compliment to our staff,” Thomas said, adding that the district guarantees 100 percent participation and has been able to meet that guarantee. “Things are going very well.”

Other business

In other business, the Fowler School Board:

• Approved the bills for March 20 totaling $16,383.29 and for April 3 totaling $48,542.02. The April 3 bill list showed a payment to Otero Junior College in the amount of $29,770.70 for tuition for concurrent classes for the spring 2017 semester. However, Thomas said the district has billed OJC in the amount of $33,391.70 for the Fowler staff who teach those concurrent classes. A total of 53 students are getting OJC credit in the spring semester — 19 students are taking business classes; 14 are taking communication (speech); 33 are taking history and four are taking theater (drama).

• Learned that Phase 1 of the athletic annex project is nearly complete. Phase II includes building a wrestling room and a committee has formed and is discussing layout options, estimated costs and additional fundraising and grant possibilities.