Schools might allow fall break makeup work

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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.

RELATED STORIES

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

Comments (12) Add comment
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tmyboy6988
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tmyboy6988 07/31/09 - 04:25 am
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To ms. flynn, its not the

To ms. flynn, its not the schools problem to make sure that your children have a place to go while you work. If its that much of a problem how about taking a couple of days off and spend some time with them instead of complaining about how it inconveniences you.Sounds a little selfish to me. School is not meant to be daycare for the ones that are to cheap to send their kids to daycare. At least the school board found a way to work with the budget without have to raise your taxes.But looking where her kids go to school she can afford the tax increase.

tlnvols
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tlnvols 07/31/09 - 06:21 am
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tmyboy6988 I agree, she

tmyboy6988 I agree, she sounds a little petty. With the way the economy is now CCBE is doing everything they can to help the teachers.

bone
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bone 07/31/09 - 06:31 am
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heck, i've known i was

heck, i've known i was nothing but a babysitting service for a few years now - reading mrs. flynn's comments rolls right off my back.

parentof1
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parentof1 07/31/09 - 08:05 am
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For those of us who DO work

For those of us who DO work and have already requested time off according to the previous calender this is a pain. My husband and I have to request time off around vacation "in advance". We have both already requested the fall break time off and also it is too late now to change our Thanksgiving schedules at work, so now our child will need a sitter for those 2 days. As parents who actually review the calender to schedule our days off in advance I don't think we should be criticited. We do this so that we are able to spend these days with our child! Our family has already scheduled a fall break and plan to stick with it. I think changing the calender 9 days before school begins is rediculous. Next year I won't worry so much about when to plan vacation, as the calender is subject to change at a moments notice.

clyde1
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clyde1 07/31/09 - 08:07 am
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For all three of you who

For all three of you who commented above... Unless you are totally sure of Ms. Flynn's situation, you shouldn't be so judgmental. The statement "how about taking a couple of days off and spend some time with them" is totally without merit and is uncalled for. She's not selfish. It's not always easy to take time off from a job. If she was to take time off like you suggested, that would mean her children would have to take time off from school, wouldn't it? I don't think she deserved your judgmental comments.

parentof1
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parentof1 07/31/09 - 08:15 am
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tmyboy6988 - Obviously you do

tmyboy6988 - Obviously you do not know anything about Working parents. Request for time off at a job must be made in advance! My self and my husband have already requested the fall break days AND the Wed. before Thanksgiving off so that we COULD spend these days off with our child! NOW, because of the board changes to the calender we are not going to be able to spend those extra 2 days of Thanksgiving week with our child. Time off around holidays at most jobs must be requested months in advance so every employee is not off the entire week, We cannot go back and request these extra days off now, so we are stuck. If you knew anything about work ethic you would know this. My family took the time to plan out all of our time off around the school calender so that we had it worked out that our child would not need a sitter through the end of the year so PLEASE don't say I'm selfish and don't want to spend time with my child.

akajenfer
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akajenfer 07/31/09 - 09:52 am
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Unfortunately they can't

Unfortunately they can't please everybody. Why can't people understand and have a little sympathy for the people teaching your children since they are the ones being furloughed?

parentof1
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parentof1 07/31/09 - 10:04 am
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I do understand and feel

I do understand and feel sorry for the teachers, bus drivers, janitors, etc., but I still don't think my child should be forced to take an "unexcused" absence just because I put the forethought and time to plan not only our vacation time but also my work schedule according to the calender.

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/31/09 - 07:01 pm
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As a WORKING teacher I find

As a WORKING teacher I find these parent comments to be whine sessions. Who on earth do you think keeps our kids when we have to work teacher work days? Attend our Open Houses which are usually from 6 to 8? Chaperone at school dances YOUR kids attend? Football games and other afterschool sports activities? Faculty meetings that run over? Chorus and band teachers that have to prepare kids for performances? My son is in day care because he is not school age and even if I wasn't a teacher I sure would not whine about having to FIND someone to keep him. I choose to have him so duh it is my responsibility to find someone to care for him when I can't. What on earth do you people do when your kids get sick? Oh I forgot you send them to school usually. I have had plenty of kids that looked pukey and ready to hurl tell me "my mom wouldn't let me stay home" WTH!!! So send your sick kid to school to make the rest of us sick. Parents need to buck up and realize you layed down to have them so take that responsibility for what it is - YOURS? Not the state, school system, or anyone else! I am just grateful that the MAJORITY of parents are nothing like Ms. Flynn.

amazedbywhatiread
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amazedbywhatiread 07/31/09 - 07:10 pm
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akajenfer- THANKS! Finally

akajenfer- THANKS! Finally someone with some sense. We are LOSING PAY people and we have FAMILIES TOO!!!! So stop whining and look at the big picture. I think many of us would rather have those precious Fall Break days back along with our TWO days worth of PAY. It never ceases to amaze me the complete lack of respect we get sometimes. I think parents are just as guilty as students are sometimes of thinking we are just little teacher robots that eat, sleep, and dream teaching. We are workers just like anyone else. We provide a service - we instruct. We have mortages, bills, families, friends, and hobbies just like everyone else. Did it ever occur to some of the whiners that we may have had our own plans for the long weekend we were suppose to have? I know I did. Now do you think I can just go on with my plans anyway now that your children will be there. So I guess I should just say screw my job responsibilities and just go on my mini vacation because it was already planned.

redapples
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redapples 07/31/09 - 11:17 pm
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Wow! It never ceases to

Wow! It never ceases to amaze me that some people will complain about anything just to complain or find fault with others. In all of the whining, I have yet to hear a better solution offered. If you have one, hopefully you attended the CCBOE meeting and spoke before the board.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 09/27/09 - 07:45 pm
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WOW Riverside mothers are

WOW Riverside mothers are really smart. Easier to find someone to keep your kids for a "couple of days" (isn't that two). If my memory serves me correct then school is normally only on Monday and Tuesday of that week anyway so what is she complaining about. Just like the fall break was only two days. Get over and stop looking at school to be your daycare.

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