Board to vote on modified calendar at next meeting
by Kathryn Malone
kmalone@mdjonline.com
June 08, 2011 06:00 PM | 6876 views | 67 67 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — At the prodding of David Banks, the Cobb School board is reviving the school calendar debate at its next meeting on June 23.

During Wednesday’s board meeting, Banks read a statement accusing board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of leading the board in a “unilateral and discriminatory manner” when she denied his previous requests to place a modified calendar, created by Banks, on the agenda for the May 11 work session meeting. Banks went on to charge that her denial of a new calendar on the agenda was both “disingenuous and hypocritical,” and requested that a vote on his modified calendar be placed on the board’s June 23 agenda.

After a contentious debate, the board voted 3-3, with Bartlett, vice-chair Scott Sweeney and Tim Stultz dissenting, to appeal Bartlett’s previous decision to keep the modified calendar off the agenda. While that vote failed, Banks, Lynnda Eagle and David Morgan all asked that the calendar item be placed on the discussion agenda at the board’s next meeting, which is allowable according to board policy, attorney Clem Doyle said.

Board member Kathleen Angelucci was absent from Wednesday’s meeting because she had to attend a doctor’s appointment with her daughter, Bartlett said.

Banks said he is proposing a modified calendar as a “compromise” to “bring closure to a very divisive issue.”

“This compromised calendar has never been discussed or debated either by the board or publicly, so there is no way for anyone, including you, can speculate the outcome,” Banks said to Bartlett. “It is evident by recent disclosure that special interests have been involved in the evolution and subsequent vote of February 2011.”

Bartlett and Banks’ calendar debate became heated when Banks brought up a case ruled on by the Supreme Court of Georgia that occurred in Randolph County where a board chair refused to place an item on the agenda at request of another board member.

“Mr. Banks, in February (the calendar) came up,” Bartlett said. “We talked it. We’ve appealed it —”

“No ma’am — ” Banks interrupted.

To which Bartlett said: “Mr. Banks, it is my turn to talk, will you wait? I’m tired of the lies … So I will ask again, if the majority agrees that they feel like we should be putting the calendar on the agenda, I don’t have an issue with it because we’ve appealed this process and you’ve looked at it. You’ve sent everybody copies of your modified calendar. The question is, in looking at the modified calendar, does this board want to have a motion to put that on the agenda?”

Banks, however, replied: “It’s not a question of this board, it’s a question of are you going to commit malfeasance in this office? The Supreme Court has already ruled.”

“I haven’t been to court, Mr. Banks,” Bartlett said. “And neither has the school board … and I followed the process. I am not Randolph County, thank you.”

Before agreeing with Banks to request that the calendar be put on the agenda, Morgan asked the Post 5 board member if this would be his last effort to change the calendar for next year.

“If there are three members that say OK, fine, we’ll put it on the next agenda,” Morgan asked. “After it’s debated and discussed and there’s a vote, public input, after all that, regardless to how it falls, it’s over?”

Banks replied: “It’s over … It’s nothing personal. I gain nothing from it. It’s what the constituency basically mandated to us.”

But following the meeting, Banks admitted that he might bring the calendar issue back up next year.

“It might come back up next year,” Banks said. “Once that door was open, it can come up any time. When Mr. Sweeney put it on the agenda in January, he changed a precedence.”

Banks is proposing a calendar with an August 8 start date that, like the balanced calendar, includes weeklong breaks in September and February and a two-week winter break to be taken the week before and after Christmas. His calendar would require an extension of the school day by at least 10 minutes. Although he has laid out this plan, the actual calendar does not exist yet, but Banks and Superintendent Fred Sanderson will be creating it in the days before the June 23 meeting.
Comments
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To Concerned MomOf3
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June 23, 2011
You can hardly credit the Balanced Calendar for any change in CRCT scores.

Most of the testing was on material learned over previous years, not just 2010-2011.

ivotedtim
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June 21, 2011
Just to clarify, the calendar starting the 15th is not traditional, nor was the calendar with the later August start date on the idiot survey.

I know many young parents, (late twenties to early thirties), life long Cobb residents and current parents who state that as recently as their own childhoods, traditional public school started after Labor day her in GA.

Therefore August 15th is already a compromise.

And to both Concerned Mom and fcps, academic improvement statistics can be found in Cobb and Northern VA to support any start date. I have many recorded post Labor day systems in the midwest that I can spew at you if needed.

In Cobb we need to address budget and operating costs in facilities during the hot days of August and the potential health hazards of school buses in August v. (insert month), Sept, Oct, Feb.

We are in a huge budget crunch, so throw out the moot and vascilationg academic performance argument until the coffers are so flush with cash that we need to waste the money.
Concerned Mom of 3
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June 18, 2011
Our family and friends loved the Balanced Calendar. CRCT scores improved in Cobb County this year. Teachers I have spoken to loved it as well as bus drivers. The parents who voted last time unanimously voted in favor of the Balanced Calendar. Remember the booing at the last vote. Some of these folks clearly do not want to be elected again. The Balanced Calendar was originally implemented for 3 years. Why did this board take it upon themselves to change the Balanced Calendar in the 1st place? The board appeared very arrogant and unconcerned with all the families that voted for the Balanced Calendar last time. Cobb County children seem to be doing well with the Balanced Calendar. Board members need to check out the CRCT scores. What is the board trying to achieve? I think the Compromise Calendar is a great alternative. Hopefully, they will get it right this time!

notta name
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June 11, 2011
No most people have not accepted the NEW calendar...THANK YOU VERY MUCH....IM A BUS DRIVER, WHO LOVED THE BALANCED CALENDAR...AND I SPEAK FOR MOST OF US...WE NEED THE BREAK IN BETWEEN....DRIVE FOR 20 YRS... AND THEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY...OKAY

sick of it
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June 10, 2011
Our current board is full of fools. We have two that don't have children in Cobb schools, one who isn't qualified to hold a certified position in the county, and one that works for another school district. They aren't concerned about our students, if they were they would have waited to see the test scores to see if the balanced calendar made a difference. I know at my school it did. For the first time in five years we didn't scrape by to make AYP, we made it with flying colors. In some areas our sped students averages were higher than gen ed kids. Unfortunately Paulding County doesn't have any job openings right now so I'm stuck, but we bought a house there so at least my kids can have the breaks.
Sope Creek Dad
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June 10, 2011
Please realize that in order for Banks' calendar to work, the school day will have to be extended by at least 10 to 15 minutes. That means that some middle schoolers will not get home to well after 5:00 pm.

Gov. Deal can not remove problem school board members. Please start with Banks.
anonymous
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June 09, 2011
To bring closure to a divisive issue? The reason it is divisive is because Banks keeps stirring the pot? Most people have moved on and accepted the calendar, as approved this year. Is this really about children in Cobb, or is it about trying to align Cobb's schedule with that of Cherokee for his own agenda? As I recall, he criticized other board members for changing the calendar about 6 months before the start of the school year, now Banks wants to change everything 2 months before the school year starts. LEAVE THE 2011-2012 CALENDAR ALONE!
lassitermom
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June 09, 2011
David Banks is an embarrasement and a lame duck. We in post 5 are counting down the days until someone can unseat him... David are you really that ignorant about the issues????The calendar is a done deal...maybe you should stay home and watch trash reality tv like my kids did during all their breaks. And to all the new board members, take control of this imbicile..show him that you now rule the roost.
M. Fresh
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June 09, 2011
Survey says:

Banks is a moron.
t2
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June 09, 2011
I was afraid the fall and winter breaks would disrupt our class routine and the kids would check out like they do before Christmas break. However it was quite the opposite. They did not get off of routine before the breaks. The kids came back refreshed and ready to work hard when they returned. Our school test scores improved in all areas. This may or may not have been due to the calendar, but the calendar definitely didn't hurt the learning. For the younger children, I think the consistent breaks were a routine for them.
This is saaaadddd
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June 09, 2011
No wonder our teachers and administrators are so driven by test scores. Our parents are more interested in getting more breaks off dring the year then they are in the actual education of their children. I can NOT believe that we are back to this calendar issue AGAIN. How much sense does that make?

And I don't want to hear that the long summer is bad for the kids. Every single school that I know has summer reading and math assignments for the students. I actually know of parents who make their kids do summer work with the parents doing the instructing. No wonder these kids are so stressed out - they never get a break even when they are OFF from school.

I'm fed up....
In the Trenches
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June 09, 2011
It is not about vacation days and breaks. It is about students. Unless you are in the classroom and involved in the day to day instruction of students as I have been for the last 26 years, you cannot comment realistically. First, school is not a daycare. Secondly, as a teacher of the traditional calendar except for last year, I was not in favor of the balanced calendar until I saw the results and progress of my students and their test scores. Whatever the outcome, the balanced calendar is best for students. The rigor of school has grown by leaps and bounds, and it is a different educational reality for our children. I know that the balanced calendar is not favored by parents in need of daycare. However, it does work and needs a credible public vote. Whatever the outcome of the vote, I will continue to work hard and make a difference in the lives of our students. I wish our board memebrs could do the same.
fcps
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June 09, 2011
The schools in Northern VA are rated as the best. They rarely go to school 5 days in a week. I would rather a week here and there than consitantly short weeks.
Just Wait
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June 09, 2011
Let's remove the entire school board, replace them with people who are not teachers, retired teachers, related to teachers and NOT PARENTS! Take the emotion out of play and just do what is right!
ECMS Mother
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June 09, 2011
David Banks is simply honoring a pledge to his constituents (and in my case, constituents of Scott Sweeney)to do what he could to hold the new board members and Ms. Bartlett accountable for an unprecedented action. What he is also doing, whether knowingly or not, is providing a means by which the new board members and Ms. Bartlett can reestablish trust and good will with those who have lost all faith in this current board. A willingness to compromise if indeed, evidence of support for a modified calendar exists, would surely negate some of the blatant mistrust and outright ill will aimed at this board. Am I tired of the calendar issue? Absolutely! But do I realize that the calendar vote was simply the first public display of some very private and potentially destructive personal agendas? Without a doubt!
ECMS Mom
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June 09, 2011
Again? Can Banks not find something more important to argue over? With all the problems in education right now, he wants to bring this back up and spend more time and money arguing over something which was already decided in February. The new superintendent won't even be in place yet to weigh in on the matter, and I have to think that Sanderson could care less with his foot out the door that week. We don't want Banks' calendar. Families have already put money down on vacations for this summer. Week long breaks in September and February seem to only benefit teacher morale but disrupt routines for students. Ever been in a classroom the week before a break, Mr. Banks? No work gets done. Ever been in a classroom the week after a break, Mr. Banks? No work gets done. Ever tried to find childcare for all these breaks when you're a working parent? Stop bringing it back up again!
anonymous
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June 09, 2011
The calender is a divisive issue and the board should have worked on a compromise the first time the considered the calendar. We are all in trouble until this board learns to work together and compromise on these types of issues. I know some third graders that work together better than this board.
East Cobber
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June 09, 2011
I don't care about the calendar, my kids are out of Cobb K-12.
eCobb Dad of 3
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June 09, 2011
I've said it once I've said it a hundred times. Banks is a buffoon. He apparently has nothing better to do that dredge up this divisive calendar issue AGAIN. It has been debated and voted on twice and any true statesman would move on. However, he continues to stir the pot. He will continue to raise this controversy as long as he is on office. Yet this moron fails to recognize the reason this is an issue is because he flip flopped from his campaign promise. The only person who has been "disingenuous and hypocritical" is Mr. Banks.

Post 5 voters we can do better than this guy. Please dump this clown in the next election.
use common sense
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June 09, 2011
To catlady1 - wahhhhhhh - is a sack lunch really that bad for a week? come on!

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