Once again, the Columbia County school board chose a new start date for the 2007-08 school calendar.
On Tuesday, the board approved the revised 2007-08 calendar, which starts school two days earlier than the original Aug. 15 date chosen by the board earlier last month.
The two added days will be used to extend fall and Christmas breaks by one day each, the board decided in a unanimous vote.
In a meeting last week with a group of principals, school Superintendent Tommy Price said, the principals stated they were unhappy with the loss of a fall break not afforded by the originally approved calendar.
"The disappearance of that may negatively impact what's going on in our schools," Price told board members.
Beth Frits, the mother of a 15-year-old attending Evans High School and a member of the calendar committee that chose the Aug. 15 start date, pleaded with the board to not tinker with the calendar.
County educators, who get an average of 12 weeks of vacation a year, Frits said, don't understand the burden that school breaks can place on working parents. She said the committee chose to eliminate the fall break because working parents typically have to use vacation time to be home with their children when they're not in school.
"We like that Aug. 15 date, and we want to encourage you to keep that date," she told the board.
Because Aug. 15, 2007, is a Wednesday, the board felt few problems were created by beginning school Aug. 13, a Monday.
School officials asked parents, pupils and others to choose among three calendars with varying start dates - Aug. 23, Aug. 15 and Aug. 6 - through a survey conducted in February.
Calendar B, which featured the Aug. 15 start date, was the most popular among survey responders.
"We need to put this to bed," board member Mike Sleeper said. "It's been discussed way too much."
Other board members also expressed their desire to move past the calendar issue and onto other school matters.
"That is the final calendar of 2007-2008, this week," said board Chairman Wayne Bridges.
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