Bartlett presented her idea for what she calls a “Balanced Nine-Week Calendar” during the Cobb Democratic Party’s monthly breakfast meeting. Bartlett, who is running for re-election this fall, said her proposed calendar is a compromise between competing ideas and is fiscally responsible.
She said she will formally present her plan for consideration at the school board’s work session on Oct. 10.
“After talking with the community and giving this much thought, I decided to put together a proposed two-year calendar that I feel will satisfy the needs of our students, staff and schools,” said Bartlett, a past board chairwoman.
“The Balanced Nine-Week Calendar is not hampered by the committee’s constraints, but instead, tries to find neutral ground between the various comments heard throughout our community and looks at future financial issues. My rational in proposing the Balanced Nine-Week Calendar is our growing need to optimize operational costs as well as minimize known safety concerns.”
Under Bartlett’s plan, the school year would begin Aug. 20 and end May 29. What she described as “natural” academic breaks would occur between each nine-week grading period.
Each semester would have two inclement weather days, which would be student and teacher holidays unless school was previously cancelled as a result of weather conditions. In that case, she said, those two days would become make-up days.
Bartlett said her plan follows the school district’s practice of implementing fewer instructional classroom days to save money. Her proposed calendar is based on 175 instructional days for the 2013-14 school year and 174 instructional days for the 2014-15 school year.
The debate over the school calendar has been an ongoing issue in the school district for years, primarily between those in favor of a traditional calendar, in which the school year begins in late August or early September, and proponents of a balanced calendar that starts in early August or late July and has several built-in breaks and vacations.
This past August, the district’s 21-member calendar committee agreed to submit two options per semester for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years to Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa. The group is comprised of parents, educators, central office staff and community members.
Hinojosa will present the committee’s recommendations to the seven-member school board at next month’s work session and for approval at the Oct. 25 meeting.
Bartlett was first elected in 2008, but the district was reapportioned this year to include more of conservative west Cobb. She represents Harrison, McEachern and Hillgrove high schools.
On Nov. 6, she will face first-time candidate Brad Wheeler, who won the Republican Party nomination for the west-central school board seat. In 2008, Wheeler retired from the county after teaching and coaching for 17 years at Pebblebrook High School and serving for nine years as an administrator at McEachern High School.