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Columbia County school calendars set through 2014-15

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 6:49 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:44 AM
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Even though they are more than a year away, the Columbia County school board on Tuesday approved calendars for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

School board members had already given initial approval of the calendars March 13 following a lengthy discussion regarding the start dates. Both calendars list the first day of school as Aug. 7.

In 2013, Aug. 7 is a Wednesday. It falls on a Thursday in 2014.

Unhappy with mid-week start dates, school board member Mike Sleeper pushed for Monday start dates — Aug. 12 in 2013 and Aug. 11 in 2014 — at the previous meeting.

Board member Kristi Baker agreed with Sleeper, and both voted against the calendars earlier this month.

On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved both calenders with no debate.

Superintendent Charles Nagle told the board earlier that the Aug. 7 start date allows teachers to start preplanning on Aug. 1, the latest date new teachers can start work and still receive immediate health care benefits. Any later, and new teachers must wait until October to get those benefits.

Sleeper had proposed starting preplanning n Aug. 1 but still waiting to start school at the later dates.

However, the majority of the board disagreed.

Also at the meeting, the board gave final approval to cutting more than 40 educator positions and nearly 70 teacher aides for next school year.

Although the school system still will have more than 1,600 teachers, the cuts limit teacher aide positions to just 131.

Salaries for teacher aides, also called paraprofessionals, primarily are funded with local tax dollars, rather than by the state, which does provide the bulk of funding for teachers. Cutting paraprofessional jobs thus saves the school system more money.

Facing a $13 million cut in state funding next school year, Nagle previously told the board the position cuts will save the school system about $4.5 million.

Paraprofessionals in Columbia County make on average $16,000 each year, but the school system also must pay next year an additional $6,000 in state-mandated benefits for each one.

Nagle said this month he hopes enough teachers and paraprofessionals resign or retire this school year to avoid layoffs, but he didn’t rule out that possibility.


Aug. 1,2,5 and 6: Pre-planning

Aug. 7: First day of school

Sept. 2: Labor Day holiday

Sept. 10: Progress reports

Sept. 19: Early release/parent conferences

Oct. 8: End of nine weeks

Oct. 14: Holiday

Oct. 15: Student holiday/teacher work day

Oct. 16: Report cards

Nov. 12: Progress reports

Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving holidays

Dec. 18-20: Semester exams

Dec. 20: End of first semester

Dec. 23-Jan. 3: Holidays

Jan. 6: Student holiday/teacher work day

Jan. 7: First day of second semester

Jan. 9: Report cards

Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Feb. 7: Progress reports

Feb. 17: Holiday

Feb. 18: Student holiday/teacher work day

March 13: Early release

March 14: School holiday

March 20: Report cards

April 7-11: Spring break

April 22: Progress reports

May 21-23: Semester exams

May 23: End of second semester

May 26: Memorial Day holiday

May 27-29: Post-planning

May 29: Report cards


Aug. 1, 4-6: Pre-planning

Aug. 7: First day of school

Sept. 1: Labor Day holiday

Sept. 9: Progress reports

Sept. 18: Early release/teacher work day

Oct. 9: End of nine weeks

Oct. 13: Holiday

Oct. 14: Student holiday/teacher work day

Oct. 16: Report cards

Nov. 13: Progress reports

Nov. 24-26: Thanksgiving holidays

Dec. 17-19: Semester exams

Dec. 19: End of first semester

Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Holidays

Jan. 5: Student holiday/teacher work day

Jan. 6: First day of second semester

Jan. 8: Report cards

Jan. 19: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday

Feb. 6: Progress reports

Feb. 16: Holiday

Feb. 17: Student holiday/teacher work day

March 12: Early release

March 13: End of nine weeks

March 19: Report cards

April 6-10: Spring break

April 21: Progress reports

May 20-22: Semester exams

May 22: End of second semester

May 25: Memorial Day holiday

May 26-28: Post-planning

May 28: Report cards

Comments (12) Add comment
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nothin2show4it 03/27/12 - 09:44 pm
But I bet Nagle gets his

But I bet Nagle gets his $11,000.00 a year raise.

They want to save money? Why go to school when air condition is in it peak time. One month later could save hundreds of thousand between the classroom and school buses. But then again you're not suppose to know any of this.

John Locke
John Locke 03/27/12 - 09:54 pm
About 5 years ago Columbia

About 5 years ago Columbia county did a survey of parents, of which a majority voted to have school either start at end of August/early Sept or no earlier than 15 August or so. Unfortunately, teachers and administrators were allowed to vote too, and most if not all voted for a 1 August start date. Why----so they can take their mid-October vactions/cruises to Disney World. They will deny this, claim BS, etc, all to deflect the issue raised above. In essence, screw the parents and students, its all about the teachers and administration. Mike Sleeper knows the deal and so does the new lady. They probably just gave up fighting the teachers union and administrators. So again, you are supposed to know parents want later start dates.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 03/28/12 - 01:54 am
(N)othin2show4it, Cutting


Cutting $11K from the $200K that our school board pays Porcine Pete Fletcher each year would make more sense than cutting Charlie's pay. At least Charlie works for his money.


One of the best things Tommy Price accomplished during his superintendency was the establishment of Fall and Winter breaks during the school year.

While dealing with most CC students and their parents was a pleasure, dealing with a small minority of unsocialized kids and their enabling parents required that I needed opportunites to reinvigorate myself during the school year. And I gather from sources within and without our school system that the numbers of unsocialized kids and their enabling parents have unfortunately only increased in the seven years since I retired from the CCSS.

scoobynews 03/28/12 - 05:15 am
JL where are you getting your

JL where are you getting your facts from? Did you see the ballots? I highly doubt that just around 1600 teachers made that big of a difference against 10 times as many parents who most likely didn't vote because they didn't care. This is a common accurance in most schools parents who just don't care until it messes with THEIR cruises, trips to Disney, or out of state in the middle of the school year trips to grandma's house. Due to furloughs for the past several years and no cost of living increase to boot, I have not been on a vacation in so many years I don't remember what one is like. As for teachers unions, GEORGIA DOES NOT HAVE UNIONS! How many times does this have to be said before you folks get it???

kittikatt 03/28/12 - 07:56 am
JL, we need a break from

JL, we need a break from RAISING YOUR KIDS since a large majority of CC parents think that it's the schools' responsibility. In fact, I think you should contribute to my Disney vacation fund because my salary doesn't pay enough for my position as your child's surrogate parent.

John Locke
John Locke 03/28/12 - 09:44 am
As I predicted, so it begins.

As I predicted, so it begins. The posters just verify the sensitivity of the CC school employees. First thing they attack and slander the kids, not even knowing if I have any. So as to raising kids, no, your are supposed to be teaching them. Now if we want to get into the quality of people who attend Colleges of Education, that is another subject. But as seen above, my point has been proven. Many thanks.

IsAmericaFree 03/28/12 - 03:39 pm
I remember the "vote" JL is

I remember the "vote" JL is referring to. It was not an official ballot vote, just some paper the school sent home. I resent kitti's comment about CC parents expecting the school the raise my child. Not in my house! I've told a principal the day she pays my bills is the day she tells me how I should raise my kid. In a nut shell my kid was being bullied and nothing was being done so he finally stood up for himself and fought back. You know the rule, second person swinging always gets caught.

Mr. Spinks: I understand the need for a break. My parents have worked in the New York school system for over 60 combined years. My sister-in-law still teaches there. (God bless her!) What I don't understand is how can schools in the north start AFTER labor day and still get their fall, winter, and spring breaks but Columbia County can't pull it off? I understand the Christmas break is only a week instead of two and the last day of school is usually the second week of June up there, but the point was made about the A/C usage. Check your Almanac and you'll see August is historically hotter than June so it makes sense.

easy breezy
easy breezy 03/28/12 - 03:52 pm
Start school after Labor Day,

Start school after Labor Day, it makes more sense. Too hot here for those children to be on those buses in early August. Sept-June would be a better schedule but what do I know....I just send them so someone else can raise them.

scoobynews 03/28/12 - 06:20 pm
I think kitt is just feeling

I think kitt is just feeling the frustration that many of us feel when we are constantly doing everything we can do to see that the children succeed only to have our efforts not be supported at home. This does NOT apply to all parents but we have quiet a few who tell us that they can't control their kids at home then expect us to?? I recently heard that a parent complained about the new teleparent system citing too many calls to her phone. On the flip side we have another parent saying we don't call enough. It is a situation were their will always be someone who has something negative to say or do. In the end you can't please everyone so get over it.

Goaliemom1987 03/28/12 - 07:11 pm
1. Nagle makes 200k/year how

1. Nagle makes 200k/year how many furlough days do you think he took? Most Para's make 10-17K really work for benefits!
2.The survey parents took was to make it look like they valued your option...CCBOE does what they want to do.Employees took the same survey and voted also for a later start date does it look like they valued their employees option?
4. NO teacher union!
5.Kittikat,I agree
6. It's hard to TEACH children when you have to discipline all the time because SOME parents can't or won't teach their children at home!
7.Agree with Scoobynews not all are like that but a majority are.
8.If parents realized how much letting paras go will effect their child's education they might be writing in support of keeping them.Besides the employees losing their jobs the sad thing is the children are going to suffer....

scoobynews 03/28/12 - 09:18 pm
Goaliemom I too am shocked

Goaliemom I too am shocked that as affluent as Columbia County is that the coffers are running dry. Taking para pros out of the classrooms is going to set this county back and we may as well tell all the people moving here buying 200K plus houses they are getting a bum deal when it comes to the school system. There is a lot of "good ol" boy politics when it comes to who gets what leadership positions and what decisions are made regardless of what the parents or teachers want.

IsAmericaFree 03/28/12 - 10:32 pm
I know your jobs can be

I know your jobs can be frustrating. I have already seen first hand what taking a para pro out of the classroom does. I have 3 kids in CC schools, one with special needs. I applaud you teachers for what you do. I personally could not do it. A parent that doesn't take a personal interest in their child's education or expect a teacher to handle what they can't? That parent should be ashamed of themselves! How sad that it takes a degree to be a teacher but any idiot can be a "parent".

I'm about to make enemies here, but here goes: I have NO problem paying more taxes if they are specifically set aside for keeping teachers and para pros. Unfortunately many people cannot afford to pay the price to train our future but I bet there are more that just are not willing to.

Goaliemom1987 03/29/12 - 08:06 am
It makes you wonder where our

It makes you wonder where our school taxes are going???? Just who is mismanaging the funds for our county to be in a 13 million deficit ..Look at what the people in the county office make,each dept. has 3-4 secretaries...Why? Para's are asked to do everyone's job and take on more each day all for very little pay. Why can't they skim some of those secretary positions and have the ones left take on more work.A secretary in CC makes 25-30k compared to a para who makes 10-17k...

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