BOE approves school calendar

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

The 2018-2019 calendar for the Henry County School System was approved by the Board of Education at its Dec. 12 regular meeting.

The first day of classes will be July 30, 2018. The school year will end for students before Memorial Day - May 24, 2019.

During the 30-day public review and comment period, a number of parents expressed the desire that the school year end before Memorial Day, as reflected by the comments printed and presented as part of the school board meeting agenda.

The regular breaks that have been observed for the past 12 years or so - a week in the fall, a week at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, a week in February and a week for spring break - are worked into this calendar, which contains 177 days of classes and 13 days of professional development.

At least one parent lamented on social media that Christmas break does not start until class is dismissed Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. With Christmas Eve the following Monday, that parent felt it was too close to the holiday for families needing to travel.

According to comments on the school board’s Facebook page by district officials, outgoing school board member Mike Griffin raised concerns about the number of professional learning days but supported the recommendation. It was approved unanimously.

Another important calendar-related action was the changing of the board’s meeting time for its monthly study sessions, typically held the Wednesday before each month’s Monday board meeting. The study sessions will begin at 5 p.m. instead of 4 p.m. beginning next month.

Many parents asked during the public review and comment period that those meetings be scheduled later in the day, perhaps at 7 p.m., so that more of them could attend. Some teachers were complimentary of the change, according to social media comments, as they could not even attend at 4 p.m. for the most part.

Dr. Donna McBride moved to amend the original recommendation and set the new start time at 6 p.m. That motion was seconded by Annette Edwards but failed 2-3. The original recommendation for 5 p.m. was approved 3-2, with McBride and Edwards voting in opposition.