BOE may cut student days
By Kathryn Schiliro
Ten days are to be cut from Morgan County School System employees' 2012-2013 work calendar.
At the recommendation of the school board's budget committee, made up of county Board of Education Chairman Nelson Hale and BOE member Andy Ainslie, the board voted unanimously to approve a measure that will eliminate four days of pre-planning; the contract day scheduled for Jan. 2, 2013; and three days of post-planning, May 28-30, 2013. Pre-planning for the 2012-2013 school year will now be Monday, Aug. 6 and Tuesday, Aug. 7
In addition to these eight teacher workdays, the BOE voted unanimously to table for 30 days (for public comment) a measure to eliminate two student days – Nov. 19 and 20, 2012, the Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving – from the school calendar. With the inclusion of these two days, that cuts 10 days from school system employees' work calendar.
This 10-day reduction in the work calendar would net the system more than $1.066 million, according to notes published online from Monday's meeting. The BOE is projecting a $4.8 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2013.
The elimination of the two, pre-Thanksgiving student days comes in part from a recommendation from the school system's Calendar Task Force. In previous years, Morgan County students have been off for the Thanksgiving holiday the Wednesday through Friday of Thanksgiving week; this potential move will give students and system employees the entire week of Thanksgiving off, and will decrease the number of school days from 180 to 178.
Another option was to start the school year two days later; however, according to Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, because school starts on a Wednesday, this move would make school start on a Friday, which didn't make sense to the Calendar Task Force or to system administration.
"This was not an easy decision, but we're going to do what we can to make the budget work," Hale said.
While the move to cut eight days from the employees' work calendar is final, the board will vote on the elimination of the Monday and Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving at their June meeting. If a member of the public would like to weigh in on this, comments can be directed to the Morgan County Board of Education.
Printed in the May 17, 2012 edition.