After a successful first year in which county schools opened before Labor Day, school officials have proposed continuing the practice by beginning classes Aug. 26 next year.
The proposed 1996-1997 public school calendar was submitted to the school board yesterday. The board will make a final decision on the calendar at its meeting next month.
The suggested calendar is the result of months of work by a School Improvement Steering Committee, composed of teachers, parents and school administrators, said Bill Rooney, director of personnel for county schools.
Mr. Rooney and two other school administrators put together the proposed calendar, based on the recommendations of the committee.
The committee strongly favored opening schools before Labor Day, Mr. Rooney told the board.
One of the biggest changes in the proposed calendar is a recommendation to have days for parent-teacher conferences and teacher training scheduled during the same week as Thanksgiving break.
The calendar calls for schools to be closed Nov. 25, 26 and 27 for teachers' activities and Nov. 28 and 29 for Thanksgiving vacation.
In the current school year, staff activities are scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving.
"Instead of disrupting two weeks, the steering committee thought we could do it all in one week," Mr. Rooney said.
The 1996-1997 proposed school calendar has three kindergarten conference days instead of two.
The additional conference day, scheduled for March 27, was included at the suggestion of the school system's early childhood staff.
The calendar calls for schools to be closed for both students and teachers Jan. 20 for the Martin Luther King holiday, and Feb. 17 for Presidents Day.
In the current year, schools are closed for students and teachers on Martin Luther King Day, but only for students on Presidents Day.
Mr. Rooney said the committee wanted to be consistent with both holidays next year.
School board members Joseph Mish and Scott Stone objected to the idea of closing schools to honor historical figures.
Mr. Mish said students should be in school those days "to learn about the contributions of these individuals."
Under the proposed 1996-1997 calendar, June 6 is the last day of school for students; teachers' last day would be June 9.