Originally created 04/12/06

Start date scheduled for '08-09 by board



On the heels of approving a controversial new school calendar for 2007-08, the Columbia County school board looked ahead to finalize a start date for the next school year at a Tuesday meeting.

In 2008, school will begin on Aug. 11, the board tentatively decided at the meeting.

School officials used the newly adopted 2007-08 school calendar as a guideline for setting dates for the 2008-09 calendar, Superintendent Tommy Price said.

"I think this mirrors the (2007-08) calendar," he said.

The Aug. 11 start date was necessary to finish the first semester of school before Christmas vacation, which is an important consideration for many parents and educators, Mr. Price said.

At the previous board meeting, held March 28, the board approved an Aug. 13 start date for 2007-08.

Initially, the board adopted an Aug. 15 start date, which was the most popular calendar in a recent survey of Columbia County residents.

The board modified its decision after complaints by principals about losing fall break.

The two days the board gained with its revision were applied to giving teachers a day off in October and adding another day to Christmas break.

Despite some complaints, board members said most comments they have received regarding the new calender have been positive.

"I've gotten several calls from people about the calendar, but they have been complimentary," said Roxanne Whitaker, a school board member.

The board typically sets school calendars three years in advance, school trustee Regina Buccafusco said.

The early notice gives parents time to plan for vacations and civic groups time to plan summer events, such as summer camps, she said.

"It's just a convenience for the community," Mrs. Buccafusco said.

The board might give final approval to the 2008-09 calendar at its next meeting, April 28.

Reach Donnie Fetter at 868-1222, ext. 109 or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR 2008-09

Aug. 11 - First day of school

Sept. 1 - Labor Day

Oct. 16 - Student holiday/teacher work day

Oct. 17 - Fall break

Nov. 26-28 - Thanksgiving holidays

Dec. 17-19 - First semester final exams

Dec. 22-Jan.1 - Christmas holidays

Jan. 2 - Student holiday/teacher work day

Jan. 19 - Martin Luther King Day

Feb. 16-17 - Winter break

Feb. 18 - Student holiday/teacher work day

April 6-10 - Spring break

May 20-22 - Second semester final exams

May 23 - Graduation