A popular UU blogger asked recently on Facebook what we think of this preliminary and much-changed GA schedule. Some of the reasons for the changes are explained by the fact that they are working towards some goals outlined in this document from the Fifth Principle Task Force. Here's my response, which I posted on Facebook.
I think the advantages of this schedule are outweighed by the disadvantages. The main advantages I see is that people who are not delegates can leave early and people who are only focused on business can arrive late if they have no pre-GA events to attend. Also, if you're primarily focused on either workshops or plenaries you have big blocks you're not focused on where you can skip out to go sight-seeing.
Disadvantages: ***People really do start leaving early by the droves on Sunday. They have to get to work on Monday, and their flight leaves early, etc. You're going to lose huge amounts of involvement in the plenary Sunday afternoon. Also, I think this model really invites burnout. That Sunday plenary schedule is going to leave people burned out in their interest levels and dropping like flies. The break schedule is also not adequate. If people go to the Sunday morning worship, they have to have breakfasted around eight, and then they don't get to break for lunch until 1. It needs to be around noon. I also worry that the drop we've seen in the Living Tradition Fund and the drop in attendance after moving the Service of the Living Tradition to Friday will be made worse if a substantial percentage don't arrive until the business part of GA starts.
I like the goals of moving to an every-other-year GA, making GA smaller (and thereby more affordable), and making it more possible for people to vote electronically from far distances. If this gets us there, then I'll willingly (and hopefully cheerfully) go through the awkward interim stages towards that goal. If it doesn't, however, I think this has more problems than solutions.