The McDuffie County Board of Education voted to adopt a traditional calendar instead of an adjusted calendar for the coming school year after a controversial two months when both opponents and proponents weighed in on the issue.
However, the issue of changing the calendar in the future has not gone away. The Board tabled until next month a proposal to adopt an adjusted calendar for 2006-2007 that includes periodic breaks throughout the school year, a move toward a balanced calendar.
Although 63 percent of school faculty and staff preferred an adjusted calendar for the coming year, 35 percent of people wanted a traditional calendar, said Superintendent Mark Petersen at a planning session March 9.
When deciding which calendar to adopt, officials considered feedback from a school comment line, e-mails, and public participation at BOE meetings. The majority of comments from the community were against an adjusted calendar. One problem with adopting an adjusted calendar was that parents and families had already planned trips, camps and vacations which they said would be affected by changing the dates school started and ended, school board members said in past meetings.
The traditional calendar approved for the coming year has school starting August 5, and ending May 19, with a short break at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and a spring break April 3-7.
The proposed adjusted calendar for 2006-2007 and tabled by the Board until next month has school starting July 31 and ending May 25 with a one week break in October, a Thanksgiving break of three days in November, two weeks in December, a week off in February and a week off in April.
Board officials said planning for a more balanced calendar two years ahead of time will give parents and families time to arrange vacations and trips around the new dates.
There are the same number of instructional days in both calendars, but the traditional calendar has a longer summer -- a point some parents spoke in favor of during past school board meetings.
Some educators have spoken in favor of a more balanced calendar, citing research that shows children who lag behind are able to catch up more quickly during the periodic breaks throughout the year instead of trying to make up all the work during the summer.