School calendar voted on by Board of Ed
After discussions that spanned two board meetings, the Jefferson County Board of Education finally came to an agreement on the school calendar for 2016-17.
Monday evening the debate began after Superintendent Bondy Shay Gibson provided board members with a proposed calendar that had the school year starting Aug. 22. An earlier draft calendar that had been available to the public had the starting date as Aug. 15.
Board President Scott Sudduth continued to push for the early start date to ensure that there were an equal amount of instructional days per semester.
There are usually less days of instruction in the fall due to the number of holidays.
Mark Osbourn, after several rounds of discussion, made the motion to have school begin on Thursday, Aug. 18.
“At the beginning of the year kids are excited to go back to school so starting mid-week doesn’t matter,” Obsourn said when the concern was raised of not starting on a Monday.
The Aug. 18 date allows teachers to come back Aug. 15 rather than the proposed Aug. 10.
Another point of debate centered on the Christmas holiday, or winter break. The proposal had students going to school through mid-day on Dec. 23 and returning to class Jan. 9. This gave a much longer break than previous years.
The board decided to revert to the previous model and dismiss students for half day on Dec. 22 and have them return Jan. 3.
Spring break, which routinely coincides with the Easter holiday, will do so again this year.
Sudduth made continued pushes to have the break set for the end of March rather than in April commencing with Good Friday.
“That time of year sees the students going to school 53 straight days,” Sudduth said.
His fellow board members countered that there are always snow days during those early months which give students breaks.
The end date for the year was set at May 26, barring any necessary snow make up days. Graduation for both high schools is set for May 20, 2017.
Dr. Gibson explained that she hopes to meet with Morgan and Berkeley officials to plan out a tentative calendar schedule encompassing the next five years.
While the board can only vote on one year at a time, the planning may make the process easier in the future, Gibson explained.
Those wishing to view the full approved calendar may do so at the Jefferson County School website at boe.jeff.k12.wv.us/.