School board leans to Aug. 29 start date

December 09, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

During a discussion at their meeting yesterday, Carroll County Board of Education members showed an inclination to start school on Aug. 29 next year. No action will be taken until the board's next meeting Jan. 12, however.

In the meantime, board members are considering three options for the 1994-1995 school calendar, although they may adopt a hybrid.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling said he would not endorse any option until next month, after board members look at all three.

However, Mr. Shilling indicated an interest in starting school before Labor Day, as all but four counties in the state do.

Carroll schools have started before Labor Day only once, about five years ago.

Several parents of 4-H members objected because the state fair occurs the week before Labor Day.

Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary schools, said nearly all 4-H state fair activities are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening because most other students in the state are in school that week.

Any Carroll students who need to miss school for the fair would be excused, he said.

The three options are:

* Pre-Labor Day nontraditional: The first day for students would be Aug. 29.

Teachers would have three days, Aug. 24-26, to train and prepare for students.

The last day of school would be June 8 for students and June 9 for teachers.

Although schools would be closed for students Sept. 13, the day of the primary election, teachers would report to work for professional duties or training.

On Nov. 8, the general Election Day, schools would be closed to students and teachers, but voluntary professional training would be offered to teachers.

Instead of disrupting two weeks in November as done this year, the parent conferences and professional days would immediately precede the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the past, children have been off four days, from Thanksgiving until Wednesday of the next week.

Personnel director William Rooney said several staff members and parents have recommended taking the days off in one week.

However, a week off would be one more vacation day for teachers and students, since the parent conferences and professional day would be occur on only two days, Nov. 21 and 22.

Early winter dismissal

Students would leave school two hours early Dec. 23 for winter break.

Spring vacation would be April 13 through 17.

If bad weather results in more than three snow days throughout the year, school would not be closed Thursday, however.

* Pre-Labor Day traditional: School would start on the same date for students (Aug. 29) and teachers (Aug. 24) as above, but end June 14 for students and June 15 for teachers.

Schools would be closed, as in the past, for both the primary and general elections, and for teachers and students.

As above, students would be off the entire week of Thanksgiving, with conferences and professional days the Monday and Tuesday before the holiday.

Students would attend a full day Dec. 22, starting winter break Dec. 23.

Spring vacation would be April 13 through 18, but Thursday and Tuesday could be school days if more than three snow days are used by then.

* Post-Labor Day traditional: The first day for students would be Sept. 8. Teachers would attend Sept. 6 and 7 as well.

School would end June 20 for students and June 21 for teachers.

Teachers would be required to work the day of the primary and allowed to attend training on a voluntary basis the day of the general election.

The November parent conference and professional days would be the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving, as has been done in the past.

Students would begin their winter break with a two-hour early dismissal Dec. 23.

Spring vacation would be April 13 through 18, again with the condition that only three snow days have been used by then.

Board members had problems with components in each calendar.

Although most seemed willing to start before Labor Day, they were opposed to requiring teachers to work on election days, or even making it voluntary.

They agreed with union leaders who said it prevented teachers from working at polling places that day, and that it set a bad precedent requiring teachers to work on a day the state says must be a holiday for school children.

However, Rochelle Eisenberg, a lawyer for the school board, said the attorney general's office advised her that it was possible to require teachers to work those days.

Several board members also were concerned about the extra day off school the week of Thanksgiving.

One problem with ending school June 20, as has been done in previous years, is that the gymnasium at Western Maryland College won't be available for graduation exercises.

Mr. McDowell said the board would have two options in that case: letting seniors graduate a week before school ends, or having high school graduations on the individual school campuses.

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