By: Eddy Gifford, Publisher
The Dade County Board of Education held a workshop Monday evening to discuss the school calendar for the 2012–2013 school year. Tight budget restraints have the Board looking at a 168–day school year, with slightly longer school days, instead of the 180–day school year of the past.
At last week’s meeting the Board voted down a proposed calendar by a 3-2 vote sending them back to the drawing board. That calendar had school starting on Aug. 10th and consisted of 168 school days.
Superintendent Shawn Tobin asked for direction from the Board and received plenty of input from the board members.
Jeff Forester got the ball rolling when he stated his position of favoring a calendar with a school start date after Labor Day. “I know there are times when we don’t agree but we need to dissect the issues and come up with what’s best for the kids,” he said.
Board Member Ronnie Page said in his 3-1/2 years on the Board he had heard more on this issue than any other. “I haven’t heard from anyone wanting to start after Labor Day,” he said.
Board Chairman Carolyn Bradford stated she had looked at several different calendars but budget cuts and the possible savings by the later start was the deciding factor for her. “The savings could be a teacher’s salary,” she said.
Board member David Powell said the committee had spent a lot of time on the August calendar and hadn’t considered an after Labor Day calendar at all and he felt this should have been brought up earlier and both presented by the committee.
Board member Mutt Massengale suggested everyone take a look at the web site Save Alabama Summers. He said there was a lot of statistics there and the Alabama legislature had recently voted 2-1 for all Alabama schools to start after Labor Day.
The added that the top 10 states for schools had one thing in common, they all start after Labor Day.
After more discussion the Board directed Superintendent Shawn Tobin to come up with a new calendar with school starting after Labor Day and structure that calendar from those in Catoosa and Walker Counties.
Those systems will start after Labor Day for the second year in a row and are very similar.
The Walker County calendar has a three–day fall break that the Catoosa calendar doesn’t and there are a few other minor differences.
Superintendent Tobin notified the Sentinel Tuesday morning that the Board would hold a special called meeting at 5 p.m., May 7th to adopt the new calendar. Some other items might be added to the agenda for that meeting he added.