Angelucci addressed a crowd of nearly 300 people at North Cobb High School as the guest speaker at an event presented by the North Cobb Education Association.
The crowd, which was largely in favor of the balanced calendar, which starts classes in early August, asked Angelucci a variety of questions regarding why she voted for the more traditional Aug. 15 school start date.
Paul Beck, of Kennesaw, accused Angelucci and board members who voted for the more traditional calendar of blowing off the public's opinion and disregarding the results from a survey the district posted online. That survey concluded that 72 percent of respondents were in favor of the balanced calendar. He also told her it wasn't right of the board to vote to revert to the traditional calendar for next school year with such short notice to the public.
"A lot of people, myself included, have made plans based on that balanced calendar - vacation plans, trips, etc. - that we paid lots of money for and you are going to turn around now, on short notice, less than six months and say, 'Oh, that's out of here now," Beck said. "You guys can't do that. I find that very irresponsible."
Angelucci responded: "We didn't want this to go one more year, so that was the reason for moving immediately. And secondly, it is a personal choice about making vacation plans. This is about education, and that's how we have to make those decisions."
Regarding the survey, Angelucci said she didn't believe the results were accurate because several people she talked to admitted they voted more than once. She also said that more than 14,000 teachers voted on the survey, but the district only has 8,000 teachers.
While the crowd got rowdy at times, snickering and yelling things like, "yeah right" and "says who?" to some of Angelucci's answers, Mayor Mark Mathews of Kennesaw, who helped to moderate the event, managed to rein them in, reminding audience members to give the school board member respect. At one point, after an audience member heckled Angelucci for a response she gave regarding the survey, Mathews said: "We killed the survey issue, I think. We can all debate that all night long."
Donna Boik, of Woodstock, a Barber Middle School food services manager, asked Angelucci how the more traditional calendar would save the district money in August utility bills since the schools still have to be open for teachers, maintenance staff and food services workers for most of the month.
"I'm in food service, we are (at schools) two weeks before school starts up and running. So the schools are running anyway," Boik said.
Angelucci said, "It is not the same as having all of the students and everyone report. And I will tell you that those two weeks, the savings that we do realize are a savings to the district, and that's the way that I'm trying to look at this... There is no preconceived notion that we're trying to do something to thwart the public's right to input."
Angelucci could not say exactly how much the district saves with a later August start date and said she is still waiting on specific utility costs she requested from staff.
The board voted 4-3 on Feb. 17 to revert back to a more traditional school calendar. Angelucci and the other two new board members - Scott Sweeney and Tim Stultz - all campaigned on and voted for the later school start date, along with board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett.
At today's board meeting, the board will consider repealing that vote and again switching back to a more balanced calendar that is currently in place.
Following Tuesday night's forum, Mike Sansone, the president of the North Cobb Education Association, said he believes the meeting was a success and hopes that Angelucci will meet with his group again.
"Tonight went wonderfully," Sansone said. "She stood up here for an hour and a half and answered the questions to the absolute best of her ability, and we could not have asked for anything more from her, whether we agree with her or not."
Sansone said he does not have an opinion either way on the calendar.
Formerly known as the Legacy Park Education Association, the North Cobb Education Association is made up of parent and resident volunteers who are seeking to increase awareness and communication about education throughout the north Cobb community.