The board was presented two options by its calendar committee, one which would open schools to students on Wednesday, August 4, and the other which would start classes on Monday, August 9.
Essic Williams of the Administrative staff presented the report for the calendar committee, which is made up of representatives of various interests in the county such as business, agriculture, and education.
Williams told the board that while the calendar committee had no firm recommendation for either of the two calendars, the consensus choice among the committee members was the one which dictates an August 4 school opening date.
The business community, particularly White Lake, prefers as late an opening date as possible. Larry Barnhardt, who manages Camp Clearwater at White Lake, was at the meeting Monday night and encouraged the board to choose the calendar with the August 9 opening date.
Other than the opening date, the two proposed calendars are basically the same in terms of overall scheduling, though there are minor differences in the two. The calendar with the August 9 opening date would shorten the Thanksgiving holiday by a half-day, and the Christmas holiday by two days. Other days designated for staff development and Extended Term would also be changed slightly.
For both calendars, the first semester for high schools would end prior to the Christmas break. Second semesters would begin when school re-opens following Christmas.
Williams told the board that teachers of the system had not yet had the opportunity to study the calendar proposal which designates August 9 as opening day for students, so the board agreed to postpone adoption of the calendar until they have that opportunity. The calendar likely will be adopted at the board's first Monday meeting in April.
In other discussions Monday, the board took the first steps towards what may lead to a redistricting plan of schools for the county. The board earlier had asked Superintendent Byron Lawson to prepare preliminary information for the purposes of discussing redistricting, and Dr. Lawson presented some of that information Monday night.
The presentation included, at the board's request, information on moving all the system's fifth grades to middle schools. Some now are attached to primary schools.
Dr. Lawson, with the help of visuals put together and presented by Transportation Director Richard Dunham, pointed out to the board that redistricting is a process that, when it is undertaken, affects all schools, and is therefore a major task. He told board members that they must look at projected student populations in the future, as well as those in the present.
His message was clear: If you're going to consider re-districting, you need to do some extensive study before hand.
With that in mind, a board committee was organized, to be chaired by Berline Graham, to begin the study process. The committee will report its findings to the full board in upcoming meetings.
The board also continued dis cussions it had begun in last month's meeting on the possible adoption of a policy that would totally ban use of tobacco products on and in school property. Eugenia Cross, who chairs a board committee which has been studying the issue, presented a draft of such a policy which the board discussed and tabled for possible action at a later meeting.