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Cobb School Calendar Issue Resumes

Proposals by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and board member David Banks will be discussed at Wednesday's work session.

Multiple school calendar proposals will be brought before the Cobb Board of Education on Wednesday, restarting a debate that embroiled the board for much of 2011.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who urged the board to create a committee to tackle calendar planning, will be offering a different calendar than conflicting recommendations by the panel.

Northeast Cobb school board member David Banks, a central figure in the school calendar controversy when it first came up in early 2011, also will be submitting his own proposal.

The discussion will take place at the board's monthly work session, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the board room of the Cobb County School District central office, 514 Glover Street, Marietta.

The entire agenda is available in the attached PDF format.

Hinojosa is suggesting that the 2013-14 school year begin on Aug. 7, and is proposing that only the next school year be approved now.

As he told The Marietta Daily Journal, he wants to take the calendar approval process out of the election cycle: "The next time we would then do a two-year calendar."

Cobb school board chairman Scott Sweeney expressed similar thoughts at his town hall meeting Monday night.

"It's very important for this district to the calendar off the election cycle," he said. "We need to adopt them in non-election years."

Hinojosa's proposal (see attached PDF) would include the following breaks:

  • Thanksgiving from Nov. 25-29;
  • Christmas and New Year's from Dec. 23-Jan. 7, 2014;
  • Spring break period from March 31-April 7, 2014;
  • Other student breaks would be scheduled on Nov. 5 and Jan. 6, 2014;
  • District-wide holidays would be slated for Sept. 2 (Labor Day), Oct. 7 (Columbus Day); Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday); Feb. 17 (President's Day); and May 26 (Memorial Day).

The last day of school would be held on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

The calendar committee is divided on start dates of Aug. 1 and Aug. 6. Hinojosa's proposal is being offered as a compromise between the two.

But Banks, who strongly protested the board's vote in 2010 to adopt a "traditional" calendar over a "balanced" calendar with more breaks, denounced Hinojosa's proposal.

"To disregard in their totality any recommendations of this [calendar] committee does not speak well of either their efforts, the public or business input during their deliberations or future committees the Board of Education may wish to convene," Banks wrote in his e-mail newsletter released Monday.

His calendar for 2013-14 (see attached PDF) would include more extended breaks for students, teachers and staff. Banks' proposal includes the following:

  • A starting date of Aug. 5, with the last day of school scheduled for May 30, 2014;
  • Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holiday breaks from Nov. 25-29 and from Dec. 23-Jan. 6;
  • "Interval" breaks from Sept. 16-20; Feb. 17-21; March 31-April 4 (Spring Break);
  • The same official single-day holidays as Hinojosa's proposal.

Banks said he is continuing to push for additional break periods based on feedback he has received from parents, teachers and school staff.

Also on the board's agenda Wednesday are the following items:

  • A presentation of the district's legislative priorities by Hinojosa;
  • Continuing discussions about the SPLOST IV project list;
  • The system's upcoming academic strategic plan targets;
  • A proposal to spend $15,000 to hire a polling company to elicit feedback pertaining to Hinojosa's performance evaluation.
William Compton October 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM
You can take it off the election cycle, but we will not forget how it all started and how it finished. Polled and then the poll ignored, We remember who on the board pushed for what THEY wanted against what the county wanted. So taking it out of the election cycle will not help, it only makes it worse.
Allison Cottle October 10, 2012 at 04:20 PM
We live in Cherokee County and I think it is ridiculous to have "week" breaks throughout the year. I get that some stay at home parent’s love it because they can plan their off season vacations then, but for the rest of the families that have two full-time working parents it is ridiculous. We have to find someone or someplace to take our children for a whole week or have to take vacation days, which usually do not cover a full school years worth of weeks off during school. If we take vacation time then, what about the summer time...no vacation pay left. Plus the families get out of routine for a week and the children have no care to do school work on "vacation". Our teachers did just fine teaching a traditional school schedule when we were in school, so what's the point in changing it now? If you are trying to do more furlough days, start school later in the year (use to be after Labor Day) and finish earlier. Don't punish the kids or the families because you need to save money and this is the best excuse you can come up with. If you are going to do year round school, then just do it. If not, go back to traditional so families can actually have a Summer vacation and not have to use it all during the school year. Having 4 counties with different breaks is miserable, because the places that do offer "school break" camps only offer it the week of the county they are located in. I live 5 minutes from Cobb County, so I use "camps" in Cobb because it makes more since for us.
William Compton October 10, 2012 at 11:28 PM
This is a Cobb county issue. We were polled and the votes were for a balanced calendar. Cobb county board members will run for election in Cobb county, not in Cherokee.

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