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Cobb School Board Approves Calendar

By a 4-2 vote, the board adopted Superintendent Michael Hinojosa's recommendation to begin the 2013-14 school year on Aug. 7.

The Cobb Board of Education adopted an academic year 2013-14 calendar Thursday night that left some members of a specially-appointed calendar committee disappointed.

By a 4-2 vote, the board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa for a 190-day instructional calendar that would begin on Aug. 7, 2013 and conclude on May 21, 2013.

Included in the vote was an amendment by board member Alison Bartlett to use fall semester instructional days for possible furlough days that may come up during future budget deliberations.

Hinojosa's recommendation was a modification of various proposals considered by the calendar committee, which was made up of parents and school system teachers and staff.

While that panel could not come to an agreement on starting dates, it expressed a general desire for more and longer breaks than what was approved, which has no full-week break in the fall before Thanksgiving (see attached PDF).

In a public comment session before the meeting, three calendar committee members said Hinojosa ignored their wishes.

"We came to a consensus with frequent breaks," said Smyrna parent Lisa Miler. "Dr. Hinojosa disregarded some important factors," upsetting her and others for not presenting his recommendation to the committee before making it public earlier this month.

While Hinojosa apologized to the calendar committee for that "mistake," he said that there were "a myriad of opinions on the topic" that prompted him to develop what he has termed a compromise.

"There was no clear consensus on the committee," Hinojosa said. "It was all over the place, no matter what they discussed.

"I did honor the intent of the committee. I don't really care what calendar we have, but a lot of people are wanting for us to make a decision."

Hinojosa proposed the creation of the committee to avoid future situations over the calendar that embroiled the board a year ago.

School board member David Banks, at the center of that calendar controversy, proposed at Thursday's meeting for a calendar to start on Aug. 5 and end on May 30, incorporating the longer breaks preferred by the calendar committee.

It was the same calendar he offered at this month's work session, but Banks was the only vote in favor of his amendment. He and outgoing board member Lynnda Eagle voted against final approval, with the latter objecting because of "all of the changes and all the amendments" that she said went against the board's intention of supporting whatever Hinojosa recommended.

In addition to Bartlett, board members Scott Sweeney, Tim Stultz and Kathleen Angelucci voted in favor of the Hinojosa calendar.

Board member David Morgan was absent from the meeting on family business.

Miller and other calendar committee members favoring the longer breaks wanted a school starting date of Aug. 1. But Sweeney pointed out that busy summer schedules for school construction projects, family vacations, student jobs and extracurricular activities like band camps would make that timeframe untenable.

Unlike last year, however, the disagreements were brief and the rhetoric wasn't nearly as sharp.

"Part of our own policy says that we respect what the public wants," Banks said right before the final vote. "And if we don't do that, we're not fulfilling our duty."

janis stevenson October 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Shame shame shame on Hinojosa. As a member of the calendar committee, I can say that the proposed calendars were not all over the place. Had we known hinojosa wanted only one calendar, the committee would have given him that. The committee as a whole felt 2 slightly different options would be helpful to the board. Hinojosa's decision to make his own calendar, AND his decision to only do it for one year (he told the committee we would pick for 2 years), is as reckless and irresponsible as the board that went against the public's wishes last time they changed the calendar. I thought I was actually going to make a difference by being on the committee. HA! We were all puppets.
Frank October 26, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Hinojosa stated that there was anything but consensus by the calendar committee. It sounds like the votes were all over the place. 11-10, 12-9, etc... Seems like the committee was split, not unlike the board. This article's writer conveniently, and perhaps purposefully, omits the public comment by one member of the calendar committee who disagreed with the calendar committee recommendations. Why? Is the article opinion or fact based news journalism? Patch's credibility will be eroded further the more this continues. News flash... Banks proffered a calendar with two week long breaks similar to one of the committee's recommendations and his suggestion was soundly rejected by the board. Eagle abstained from the vote and that's an automatic vote with the majority, meaning that Banks was suggested calendar with week long breaks in the fall and spring was rejected 5 to 1.
JudyJ October 26, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am with Mr. Hinojosa and with those who voted against the Balanced Calendar. You guys are a joke, to say the least! We will vote those of you OUT of office just like we voted David Banks BACK IN OFFICE. Your turn is a comin, so beware!
JudyJ October 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Thank you so much for your time and energy that you spent on this committee. I feel so bad that you weren't taken seriously. It's just outrageous that we have a school board that feels they are above what the majority of the public wants. The only true friend we have on that board is David Banks. Thank you Mr. Banks for trying so hard. Your efforts won't be in vain. There is always another time and another place to make this right. Thanks to all that were on the committee who now feel slighted. We appreciate you!
Frank October 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Banks re-election was hardly a mandate... Banks quite narrowly survived a runoff by a mere 7 votes, largely due to seniors voting against TSPLOST and by default for an incumbent. Contrary to what Banks tells you, many in his post dislike the balanced calendar.
William Compton October 26, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Like most are planning to do, vote them out when the time comes. Bartlett, Sweeney, Stultz and Angelucci. We kept Banks as we said would happen. Simple
JudyJ October 27, 2012 at 02:00 AM
What about the survey? The majority of the parents, teachers and students in Cobb County wanted the BALANCED CALENDAR!!! You say many dislike it but I thought the majority should have consideration from the School Board. It was a big joke! These people other than Mr. Banks should not be in these positions to vote against what the majority of the people want. It is OUR schools. We pay their salaries. Shouldn't our opinion count?

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