The Bryan County Board of Education recently voted 4-3 to table approving the 2008-2008 school year’s calendar until further discussion. The debate was over adding a fall break into the schedule, which would move the start of school from Aug. 4 to July 28.
While board members Mary Warnell, Francis Meeks and Joe Pecenka wanted to approve the calendar at the meeting, Jeff Morton, Judy Crosby, Billy Mock and Chairman Eddie Warren voted to table it.
Information about the calendar change was sent out five days prior to the Nov. 15 meeting, Warren said.
"There were issues about starting school too early and we made those corrections last year, and now we’re voting on it again this year," he said.
At the time of the meeting, the board had not yet had a chance to discuss the calendar. Warren said he personally wanted some additional time to review not only Bryan County’s calendar schedule, but other counties’ calendars as well – in the hopes of finding a way to meet in the middle.
"We want to give a Fall Break like the teachers want, because they have requested it. But we also don’t want to start earlier, which the majority of parents don’t want," he said.
Morton made the motion to table the calendar for further consideration and Crosby seconded it. Morton said because of this proposed calendar, starting school a week early is the only way to finish up the semester before Christmas.
"Starting early has been controversial, because of heat and a number of other reasons," Morton said. "This was brought up quickly, without much discussion, and I know parents weren’t aware of it. If people want it, I’m all for it. I just thought we should slow down a little bit and take some time to talk about it."
Warnell said she voted to approve the calendar because the teachers had been asking for the addition of a Fall Break for a number of years.
"The whole school year is busy, but it’s especially busy in the fall," Warnell said. "The teachers feel like they, and the children, need a break. As I said to the board, it doesn’t affect me. If the teachers are willing to come in early and they think the break would help the children, then I think it’s a great idea."
Warren said Crosby suggested adding in a Fall Break during Thanksgiving, which would give schools that whole week off without pushing the calendar back by as much. Warren said he had been thinking along those lines, too.