At Tuesday's School Board meeting policy trumps calendar concerns
Jackson TN, (February 12, 2103) - Jackson Madison County School Board members heard from Tony Blankenship, President of the Jackson Madison County Education Association, at Tuesday night's meeting but before that they heard from teachers and others throughout the day. They majority, according to board members, were supporting the existing calendar which includes a week-long Fall Break.
The Fall Break school holiday falls in the month of October. It is one of the reasons the start of school is so early in August. The early start is what has some residents upset and some board members concerned.
During the Monday night public comment time of the work session, Julia Duin asked members of the Board to consider a later start date for the upcoming 2013-14 school year. Duin suggested a late August date was more reasonable than the current first week of August. Duin told the Board members the problems and expense the early start created for her family when they relocated to Jackson.
Some Board members agreed or expressed an interest in listening to options. Board member George Neely gave several reasons why he felt a later start date was better for children including safety, citing the potential August heat related danger such as heat- exhaustion, burns from hot playground equipment, over-heated classrooms, and the difficulty students and teachers have concentrating when temperatures or high. Neely also said the long break creats a burden on some parents to find child care.
Board members Alvey and Murray also expressed concerns. Those members of the Board and community members who supported the late August start calendar all agreed that not enough input was received from parents.
Director of Schools, Buddy White, also acknowledged he felt parents should be heard from and agreed the early start did mean heat was an issue for students and faculty.
In the end it was policy that made the difference in the decision.
Specifically, the policy which states, in part, The director of schools shall plan each year’s program accounting for a 200-day year and shall recommend it to the Board for approval. http://boardpolicy.net/documents/detail.asp?iFile=5267&;;iType=1&iBoard=15
Board Chairman David Clifft told fellow Board members he had read the policy just prior to the start of the meeting after it was brought to his attention. He posted the policy on the projection screen for others to see.
With no other comment a motion was made and seconded to approve the recommended calendar as is. Before the vote Alvey, Murray, and Neely all said that it was only their intention to suggest that before another calendar was created in the future it would be useful if more public opinion was included in the planning.
The board approved the calendar unanimously.
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