July 31, 2008

School Calendar Committee to Meet Aug. 14

By Jonathan Cribbs, The Beaufort Gazette, S.C.

Jul. 31--The Beaufort County School District has scheduled the first meeting of a committee charged with recommending one calendar for all schools, even as the district continues to search for members, a district official said.

The first meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 14 at Robert Smalls Middle School, said John Williams, a district spokesman. The meeting was changed from Aug. 12 after district officials realized it conflicted with a town hall forum hosted by school board Chairman Fred Washington Jr. to discuss calendars, school uniforms and other district issues.

Each school in the district will be represented on the committee, which will include six school principals, three from year-round schools and three from traditional; two assistant principals, one from each calendar; six teachers, two from year-round; and 12 parents with five or six from year-round schools, he said.

The district has been calling potential committee members this week. The committee will recommend to superintendent Valerie Truesdale one, universal calendar for the district's 29 schools to save money and ease coordination among schools and within the administration.

"This is what we're shooting for," Williams said.

The meeting is open to the public. District officials will hear from committee members about what information and data they will need to debate the issue, he said.

The calendar issue has been among the hottest the school board has faced over the last two years. The school board voted in March 2007 to keep both year-round and traditional calendars for two years, bucking interim superintendent Phillip McDaniel's recommendation to choose a traditional calendar after a legion of parents and teachers stormed the board's chambers, protesting an elimination of either.

On the new committee, each teacher will be a current or former Teacher of the Year, and each parent will be a current or former member of the school's Parent-Teacher Organization or School Improvement Council. The committee will meet every Thursday starting Aug. 21 and will present the board with a recommendation at its Oct. 7 meeting. The school board would be given a month to deliberate and hear public commentary before setting the calendar at its Nov. 4 meeting.


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