McDuffie County School Board members approved a tentative calendar for the 2010-2011 school year that is aimed at saving the system money while keeping the same standard of instruction for students.
After considering six versions of a calendar, which were posted online for a month for public input, the board adopted a 170-day calendar.
In previous years, the traditional school year lasted 180 days. However, the state Department of Education began this year allowing systems to cut back their days in an effort to save money.
In McDuffie County, the 170-day calendar will save $75,000 per year, according to reports provided to school board members. These savings included not only all energy and trash pick up, but savings in substitutes based on last year.
The system now is experiencing less substitute cost this year and it would be assumed that this trend will continue into next school year.
McDuffie School Superintendent Jim LeBrun said the 170-day plan will not reduce the number of instructional minutes. Approximately 15-20 minutes will be added to each school day, he said.
"Basically, it saves funds while retaining the instructional integrity that we want," Mr. LeBrun said.
Board member Greg Derry made the motion to adopt the calendar at the March regular meeting. Rick McCorkle seconded and the vote carried unanimously with all members present.
Mr. LeBrun explained to the board that the calendar was tentative because the state is looking into implementing a mandatory 170-day calendar also.
The state's calendar will involve loss of time/pay for teachers, while McDuffie County's version allows teachers to maintain the same pay structure.
Mr. LeBrun said the starting and ending dates should remain the same regardless of what the state does.
The 170-day version begins on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010, with the last day of school being Thursday, May 19, 2011. Semester one will have 80 days and semester two will be 90 days. The traditional holiday breaks will remain the same.