Board to consider new school calendars
by Lindsay Field
September 10, 2013 12:35 AM | 5141 views | 17 17 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County School Board <br> Staff/file
Cobb County School Board
Staff/file
slideshow
MARIETTA — The Cobb School Board will get its first look at proposed calendars for the next two school years this week.

The board Wednesday will review four separate calendars designed by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and his staff for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, with plans to vote on the final proposed schedules at the Sept. 26 night meeting.

Each of the four versions is differentiated by school start dates, end dates and when or if fall and winter breaks are included.

Version A of the 2014-15 calendar starts the school year on Aug. 11, 2014 and does not offer an October break. Version B of that same school year starts on Aug. 4, 2014, and includes a break from Oct. 6 to 10, 2014.

The last day of school for both calendars is May 20, 2015.

Version A of the 2015-16 calendar starts school Aug. 10, 2015, and there is no fall break. Version B starts school Aug. 3, 2015, and includes a fall break from Oct. 5 to 9, 2015, and a winter break the week of Feb. 15 to 19, 2016.

The last day of school for Version A is May 19, 2016, and for Version B it is May 25, 2016.

Last year, a 21-member calendar committee was formed to help give community feedback as to how the calendar should be structured. The group consisted of eight parents, two community representatives, five central office staff members and six local school employees.

Hinojosa said Monday that he opted out of forming another committee this year after speaking to Scamihorn.

“Nothing was resolved last year,” Scamihorn said. “I’m not against committees but what would it serve?”

While Scamihorn was not elected to the school board until November, he attended each of the calendar committee meetings last August and September and said the group was split each time it voted on a preferred calendar.

He also said that he personally doesn’t have a preference about the type of calendar the district runs on, but he has found out while talking to educators that they want one that includes a fall break.

“When I go into a school, teachers want to know if we are ever going back to that calendar again,” Scamihorn said.

For the 2013-14 school year, the staff will not have a full week off for a fall break, but there are two furlough days on Oct. 3 and 4 and staff holidays the following Monday and Tuesday on Oct. 7 and 8, giving staff and students a six-day break.

The board is also scheduled to discuss which legislative priorities the group would like to present to the 21-member Cobb Legislative Delegation later this fall.

The tentative list includes restoring state funding to the district that has been cut since 2003, allowing districts to implement a sales tax that could help the district’s general fund, reducing the number of standardized tests given annually to students, allowing flexibility in the classroom related to class size, hours or days of instruction and including local tax exemptions when determining the amount of money that is paid to the state from Cobb Schools.

The Wednesday work session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comments. It will be in the district board room at 514 Glover St. in Marietta.

Comments
(17)
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Cobb mom of 2
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September 11, 2013
Scamihorn is incorrect about the October break. Students are out October 8th but it is a professional learning day for teachers.
west Cobb parent4
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September 11, 2013
I have mixed feelings on the calendar that includes week long breaks in October and maybe February. One the one hand, working parents have a difficult time arranging care for children during those weeks and many do not have vacation days to take. On the other hand, the one year that we had those breaks a few years back many of my children's teachers stated that those breaks were used by them to schedule doctor's appointments, surgeries, and other other necessary appointments resulting in less need for substitute teachers during the rest of the year which was of benefit to the students and the budget. Can we find a satisfactory solution benefiting both groups with compromise on both sides?

Read the Calendar
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September 11, 2013
"For the 2013-14 school year, the staff will not have a full week off for a fall break, but there are two furlough days on Oct. 3 and 4 and staff holidays the following Monday and Tuesday on Oct. 7 and 8, giving staff and students a six-day break"

WRONG: Tues, Oct 8 is a staff day ("teacher workday") and a critical day.
Teachers don't ask
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September 10, 2013
The calendar has nothing to do with what teachers want. 50% love the breaks and 50% prefer not to have them. This is all about the board and it is their decision. Please stop blaming the teachers! The teachers would like their 2% salary back, no furlough days and a 180 day school year. You don't see that happening, do you? Case and point, it is not our decision! I can go either way and I love my job with or without those things. I don't like the public complaining about teachers when they know nothing about our job or what we want.
julio quintana
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September 10, 2013
When will this people make a final decision and stick to it? Having a different calendar every years does no one any good.
anonymous
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September 10, 2013
Where is Scamihorn's concern for STUDENTS? Guess we figured out that with his position on math textbooks.

Students should matter; more so than what teachers want.

Balanced calendar supporters would have you believe student achievement would tank if the district maintained a traditional calendar - didn't happen.

They bellowed that student attendance would be worse - didn't happen.
Employees
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September 10, 2013
Pandering to the employee base, sad.

What is best for the students, parents, and taxpayers?

Too much time is spent listening to the whining of North Cobb slackers (pining for "balanced" calendars like their neighbors in Cherokee).
Thank You Randy
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September 10, 2013
That's exactly what I hear in the schools as well. "Teachers want a fall break." Thank you for listening, but go 1 step further please. They also want the February break similar to Cherokee County. Yes, it is a break primarily for teachers. I agree, but let them refresh! I am a parent that is heavily involved with the school system. I can see the difference in a refreshed teacher. As parents, we can't wait for school to start....wonder why?? Thank you for listening, Randy. Now please act.
Just Wait
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September 10, 2013
Here we go again. "My baby needs summer vacation!" "My baby needs spring break!" Instead of thinking about time out of school, parents need to think about time in school, you know, the place where learning takes place.
J Macfarland
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September 10, 2013
Well of course teachers want to know when they are going to go back to a calendar that gives them additional vacations. Anyone compare a teachers work schedule to anyone else's? Even air traffic controllers, the most stressful job in the country don't get as much time off as teachers under the balanced calendar. Ridiculous!

Randy Scamihorn is pandering. Great. And Wheeler will do whatever the chair wants him to.
Math Bro...MATH!
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September 10, 2013


They work very different hours and are compensated very differently. Mark Rincor Air traffic controller Hartsfield Jackson 4 years, Annual Salary: $135,000. John Lamarca School teacher Cobb County 4 years, Annual Salary: $25,215. You are not well informed. This info is EASILY available on the internet. Nice try but you failed.
AndyPandy
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September 10, 2013
I am a Cobb Co teacher and I don't really care what calendar they choose. Teachers are paid for a certain number of days and we do not get paid for those "vacation" days that you mentioned. I think the parents and students care more about the calendar than most teachers do. It is not at all unusual for parent and/or students to tell me that they "have to go on a trip" so they will be absent for a few days. If a balanced calendar will help reduce absenteeism of both students and teachers, then it might be a good thing. Otherwise it doesn't matter to me what the calendar looks like. I work the same amount of days regardless.
Concerned Parent
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September 11, 2013
I agree! Name another profession that gives a summer long vacation. A week off in Oct. A week off Thanksgiving. 2 Weeks off at Christmas. A week off in February. A week off for Spring Break (April). Now take the $ that person makes divided by number of days actually worked and see what they actually make based on days worked. I agree, we have some teachers that put extra time and $ in their job. But I can name several that from the first day back to work look forward to the next time they have a week off. Also, often projects are given on the Thursday before breaks and due on the Monday or Tuesday after break, so where is the break for the student? Let's look at the summer breaks for teenagers....job opportunities, camps that enhance their educational opportunities such as orchestra camp or Governor Honor programs. Let's look at the working parents....who takes care of younger school age kids when their college kids are back in college and the daycare camps are n't set up for them or for the number of kids needing supervision. Let's look at what's better for the kids! I get tired working every week with a vacation here and there. So teachers get a grip and take working like an adult.
Not true
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September 11, 2013
The balanced calendar does not offer "additional vacation." It takes time from the summer break and incorporates it into the school year. It's the same amount of time off, but furlough days do in fact give teachers additional time off. I know neighboring districts do it, and i have heard a lot of positives from breaking teachers to student retention.??
Teacher100
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September 11, 2013
Teachers do not get "additional vacations". Teachers still teach the same number of days, and still do not get paid for days they do not work.

Teachers do, however, feel that the breaks are helpful for retention of taught material and for freshness and attention of the students they teach.

If having this break helps students learn better, what is the issue?
anonymous
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September 11, 2013
Hey Math Bro, if you looked at the teacher slary schedule, which you note is easily available on the internet, the low end for a full time teacher is $37k for 190-194 days of work. Most workers in the private sector work a 260 day schedule, so if you convert a teacher daily salary to 260 days it would be $50k, if they chose to work a full year. Teaching is a tough job abd you have the teachers that put in alot of hours and those who skate by at a minimum and stay on payroll. For teh time off and benfits some find it worht the salary. There are options if a teacher wants a full year salary. You also fail to mention that on that salary scale you would see that the top end varies from $54k-82k for teachers and if you get to the administrator level is it in the same range, just a few more days and principals can hit 90-118k, but they work 240 days
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