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School board approves calendars

Posted: March 28, 2012 - 7:52am

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Though more than a year away, the Columbia County school board on Tuesday approved calendars for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.
School board members already gave initial approval of the calendars March 13 following a lengthy discussion regarding the start dates. Both calendars list the first day of school as Aug. 7.
In 2013, Aug. 7 is a Wednesday. It falls on a Thursday in 2014.
Unhappy with mid-week start dates, school trustee Mike Sleeper pushed for Monday starts dates – Aug. 12 in 2013 and Aug. 11 in 2014 – at the previous meeting.
Board member Kristi Baker agreed with Sleeper and both voted against the calendars earlier this month.
On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved both calenders with no debate.
Superintendent Charles Nagle told the board earlier that the Aug. 7 start date allows teachers to start pre-planning on Aug. 1, the latest date new teachers can start work and still receive immediate health care benefits. Any later, new teachers must wait until October to get those benefits.
Sleeper had proposed starting pre-planning on Aug. 1, but still waiting to start school at the later dates.
However, the majority of the board members disagreed.
Also at the meeting, the board gave final approval to cutting more than 40 educator positions and nearly 70 teacher aides for next school year.
Though the school system still will have more than 1,600 teachers, the cuts limit teacher aide positions to just 131.
Salaries for teacher aides, also called paraprofessionals, primarily are funded with local tax dollars, rather than by the state like teachers. Cutting paraprofessional jobs thus saves the school system more money.
Facing a $13 million cut in state funding next school year, Nagle previously told the board the position cuts will save the school system about $4.5 million.
Paraprofessionals in Columbia County make on average $16,000 each year, but the school system also must pay next year an additional $6,000 in state-mandated benefits for each one.
Nagle said this month he hopes enough teachers and paraprofessionals resign or retire this school year to avoid layoffs, but he didn’t negate that possibility.

SCHOOL CALENDAR 2013-2014
Aug. 1,2,5 and 6: Pre-planning
Aug. 7: First day of school
Sept. 2: Labor Day holiday
Sept. 10: Progress reports
Sept. 19: Early release/parent conferences
Oct. 8: End of nine weeks
Oct. 14: Holiday
Oct. 15: Student holiday/teacher work day
Oct. 16: Report cards
Nov. 12: Progress reports
Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving holidays
Dec. 18-20: Semester exams
Dec. 20: End of first semester
Dec. 23-Jan. 3: Holidays
Jan. 6: Student holiday/teacher work day
Jan. 7: First day of second semester
Jan. 9: Report cards
Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
Feb. 7: Progress reports
Feb. 17: Holiday
Feb. 18: Student holiday/teacher work day
March 13: Early release
March 14: School holiday
March 20: Report cards
April 7-11: Spring break
April 22: Progress reports
May 21-23: Semester exams
May 23: End of second semester
May 26: Memorial Day holiday
May 27-29: Post-planning
May 29: Report cards

SCHOOL CALENDAR 2014-2015
Aug. 1, 4-6: Pre-planning
Aug. 7: First day of school
Sept. 1: Labor Day holiday
Sept. 9: Progress reports
Sept. 18: Early release/teacher work day
Oct. 9: End of nine weeks
Oct. 13: Holiday
Oct. 14: Student holiday/teacher work day
Oct. 16: Report cards
Nov. 13: Progress reports
Nov. 24-26: Thanksgiving holidays
Dec. 17-19: Semester exams
Dec. 19: End of first semester
Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Holidays
Jan. 5: Student holiday/teacher work day
Jan. 6: First day of second semester
Jan. 8: Report cards
Jan. 19: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
Feb. 6: Progress reports
Feb. 16: Holiday
Feb. 17: Student holiday/teacher work day
March 12: Early release
March 13: End of nine weeks
March 19: Report cards
April 6-10: Spring break
April 21: Progress reports
May 20-22: Semester exams
May 22: End of second semester
May 25: Memorial Day holiday
May 26-28: Post-planning
May 28: Report cards

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