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08 school calendar is approved
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After debate from the Board of Education and district parents, the 2008-2009 school calendar will look like its predecessor.

The issue was over the addition of a week-long fall break on the proposed upcoming calendar, which would have pushed back the start of school to July.

The unanimous vote was made on Dec. 20 came after board member Jeff Morton’s motion to table the issue was approved in a split vote, at the BoE’s November meeting.

"I’m very happy with the decision and the outcome of this," Morton said.

"I was happy with the additional input we were able to get from parents and teachers and I think it was the right thing to do. It was unanimous among the board," he said.

The original voting was tabled after Morton, Billy Mock, Judy Crosby and board Chairman Eddie voted in favor of waiting to make a decision. On Dec. 3, a called meeting gave the board additional time to discuss and consider parent and teacher input regarding the addition of a fall break.

Under the approved calendar, school will be starting on Aug. 8 and ending May 22. Graduation will fall on May 23 for both high schools.

In other business:

- The board approved to declare three 1998 MacIntosh computer units unusable and authorized school administration to dispose of them.

- Thanks to a $703.95 donation from the Lanier Primary PTO, the Lanier students will soon have the StudyDog Adventures in Reading, a phonics-based reading program designed to help improve and/or accelerate reading skills for students in pre-k to 2nd grade.

- The BCES PTO donated $1,000 to the school’s Economics Day program.

- The first reading was done for the board’s updated and revised policies and ethics list. The board approved the first reading, except for Mock who opposed it as is. Mock had an issue with one of the bylaws, which said "I will not undermine the authority of the superintendent nor intrude into spheres of responsibility that properly belongs to the school administration – such as hiring, transferring or dismissing employees. I will not lead people to think that I can get them a job or influence their employment." Mock said this particular bylaw should be better clarified and Warren told him he was free to work on rewording it in a way that made more sense for the second reading in January.

- The board voted to use Coastal EMC as the power provider for the replacement RHES. Morton made the recommendation, based on information they received from several companies, saying that EMC is less expensive and already active in schools.

- The annual application for Impact Aid funds was approved. Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer said the funds are based on the number of students in the district who are military students or whose parents are federal employees. She said the funds have ranged from $90,000 to $600,000 each year, but they can’t predict how much funds they’ll get next year.

- A resolution supporting House Resolution 648 for the No Child Left Behind Improvements Act of 2007 was approved by the board. "The Board Association asked that local schools get involved," Brewer explained, noting that NCLB is a good accountability measure, but sometimes penalizes for things that aren’t good progress measures. The resolution is looking to amend some of the requirements in NCLB.

- In the board member closing comments, Frances Meeks asked Brewer to explain to everyone how extracurricular funding works in the district, noting how the board is "highly regulated."

With the recent board funding to improve the RHHS football field, Brewer explained they are able to do that because it can be used by all students – for physical education classes, etc. – and is not specifically for extracurricular activates. For this same reason, the board is not allowed to purchase uniforms that only certain students would wear, for band, football, etc.

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