The Calendar Task Force that has been looking into possible changes to the Bozeman School District’s traditional calendar has been put on hold for now.

Between searches for a new school superintendent and principals and the effort to inform the community about a $26 million bond issue, school leaders have a lot on their plates right now.

Marilyn King, assistant superintendent and co-facilitator for the task force, said that’s why the task force meetings have been deferred until next school year.

“We’re going to start up in the fall,” School Board Chair Denise Hayman said Monday. “I think we realized it’s going to take longer than originally planned.”

The 40-member task force was appointed last October by outgoing Superintendent Kirk Miller to investigate whether Bozeman students might benefit from year-round schools, longer school days, four-day weeks or some other alternative schedule.

The task force had met a half-dozen times and was just starting to do research on alternatives and the impact of changes on the Bozeman community. It hadn’t reached the point of making any recommendations to the School Board.

Task force members included School Board trustees, principals, teachers, school employees, parents, students and representatives of local businesses, nonprofits and Montana State University.

After Miller announced last month that he would take a new job in Helena, the School Board decided to take on most of the work of finding a new superintendent itself, rather than hire a consultant. That will require making reference checks, visiting finalists’ home schools and other time-consuming tasks.

The district just finished reviewing candidates and hiring a new principal for Chief Joseph Middle School. It’s currently searching for a new elementary principal for Whittier School.

In addition, Miller, other administrators and trustees have been busy visiting dozens of civic clubs, parent councils and school groups to explain the reasons for a $26 million bond issue on the May 8 ballot, to build a new school and expand two existing buildings to keep up with growth.

“Our administrative staff is working above and beyond their normal duties,” Hayman said. Hiring new staff members has to be done in a thoughtful way, she added. “It takes a lot of time – we have to prioritize.”

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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