Schools might allow fall break makeup work

Columbia County school officials say they will try to work with pupils who might be absent on days previously announced as fall holidays -- Oct. 23-24.

The board decided Tuesday to change the school schedule to accommodate the teacher furloughs created by state funding cuts.

It will also stretch the Thanksgiving holiday out a full week.

"If, for example, a family has booked a cruise and they can't change it ... if they will produce (evidence of the prior commitment), while we can't excuse the absence, we will allow them to make up any work they missed," said Deputy Superintendent Sandra Carraway.

Typically, pupils are allowed to make up only major tests or projects on days they incur an unexcused absence.

School board member Mike Sleeper said feedback to the calendar change was generally positive.

"Most folks are in support of it and happy for it, especially when they look at other school systems and what they're forced to do," he said.

Kara Lee Coggins, whose two daughters attend Greenbrier Elementary School, said she liked the change.

"I understand why they had to change it (the school calendar) and I don't see it as a bad thing," Ms. Coggins said. "We're still getting the two days off. They're just coming later in the year."

Tammy Flynn, the mother of a fifth-grader attending Riverside Elementary School and a seventh-grader at Riverside Middle School, was less pleased.

"For working parents, it's a lot easier to find someone to watch your kids for a couple of days than it is for an entire week," she said.

Bel-Air Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Fran Cagle saw the pros and cons of the change.

"For someone who's not from here, having an entire week off at Thanksgiving gives us more time to visit with family," said the Philadelphia native. "But, as a teacher, I'll miss those two days (the fall break). They're a great way for us (educators) to recharge our batteries."

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

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Columbia County plans teacher furloughs, eliminates fall break

COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL CALENDAR

AUG. 3: Furlough day

AUG. 4-7: Pre-planning

AUG. 10: First day of school

SEPT. 7: Holiday/Labor Day

SEPT. 9: Progress reports

SEPT. 17: Early release/parent conferences

OCT. 9: End of nine weeks

OCT. 16: Report cards

NOV. 11: Progress reports

NOV. 23: Furlough day

NOV. 23-27: Holidays/Thanksgiving

DEC. 16-18: Semester exams

DEC. 18: End first semester

DEC. 21-JAN. 1 (INCLUSIVE): Holidays

JAN. 5: First day, second semester

JAN. 8: Report cards

JAN. 18: Holiday/Martin Luther King Day

FEB. 5: Progress reports

FEB. 11: Early release/parent conferences

FEB. 15: Holidays/winter break

FEB. 16: Student holiday/Teacher professional learning day

MARCH 12: End third nine weeks

MARCH 19: Report cards

APRIL 5-9: Holidays/spring break

APRIL 20: Progress reports

MAY 19-21: Semester exams

MAY 21: End second semester

MAY 22: Graduation

MAY 24-25: Post-planning

MAY 26: Report cards

MAY 31: Holiday/Memorial Day