Board Considers Opening Schools Before Labor Day

February 12, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

If the school board decides to start classes before Labor Day next fall, Kristen Binck's summer will be less happy.

The 14-year-old freshman at Glenelg High School swims on the Harper's Choice team in June and July, which leaves August for the vacation time she usually divides between her divorced parents.

"I would have to give up vacation with my family if they start that early," she said.

Highlights of the 1992-1993 school calendar that will be recommended to the board at its meeting Thursday:

* Aug. 31 -- Schools open.

* Sept. 4 and 7 -- Schools close for four-day Labor Day weekend.

* Nov. 16-20 -- All schools close two hours early for parent conferences.

* Dec. 24-Jan. 2 -- Schools closed for winter vacation.

* April 19-23 -- All schools close two hours early for parent conferences.

* June 17 -- Last day of school.

The problem faced by the committee of parents, teachers, students and school officials who drew up the proposed school calendar is that Labor Day falls late in the month, Sept. 7.

"If you don't start (school) before Labor Day, in June 1993 the school year would end significantly later," said Robert S. Lazarewicz, director of operations and chairman of the calendar committee.

Delaying the start of school until after Sept. 7 would make the last day of classes June 24, 1993.

That wouldn't sit well with Nora Kenny.

"My birthday is on the 20th (of June). I want to be out," said Nora, 13, an eighth-grader at Mayfield Woods Middle School.

She said she already has been promised a trip to South Carolina for her birthday present next year, and the family plans to leave immediately after the school year ends.

The committee also had to wrestle with schedule changes for parent conference days and other split days being altered to save an estimated $231,500 in school busing costs next year.

Committee members recommend closing all schools two hours early one week in November and oneweek in April for parent conferences.

Under the current parent conference schedule, elementary schools close two hours early for one week in November and April, middle schools close two hours early four days in November and three days in February, and high schools open two hours late two days in November and one day in March.

Delegates to the county PTA council split over the issue of morning or afternoon parent conferences at last week's meeting.

Some parents argued that it is easier to attend a conference early in the morning and report to their jobs late than to leave work early for an afternoon meeting with their children's teachers. Others countered that if morning conferences ran behind schedule, children would be arriving while teachers still were trying to talk to the parents.

The council voted to ask the board to divide parent conference week -- opening schools late on several days and closing early on others -- to give parents more options in scheduling conferences around their work days.

AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday's school board meeting begins at 4 p.m. Here are highlights of the agenda.

* 4 p.m. -- Listening post.

* 4:15 p.m. -- Business Agenda, including reports on the operating budget, the school construction fund and food service.

* 4:45 p.m. -- 1992-1993 school calendar.

* 5 p.m. -- Bids and contracts and action onprojects for Oakland Mills High School, northern elementary, northeastern elementary, western middle school and western high school.

*5:50 p.m. -- Early retirement program.

* 7:30 p.m. -- Listening post.

* 7:35 p.m. -- Public work session on superintendent's proposed 1993 operating budget.

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