School in the 2009-10 academic year would start Monday, Aug. 10, under a tentative schedule that the county school board approved at its Tuesday meeting.
Administrators agreed that they did not want to start the school year any earlier, but Mike Sleeper, the only board member to oppose the tentative schedule, said he would prefer to start school during the middle of the week. He said he could not approve a calendar until he had seen other options.
Sleeper said starting school on a Wednesday instead of a Monday would make it easier for administrators to expand or collapse classes as needed.
Superintendent Charles Nagle also said he would have preferred to push the start date back several days because a new high school, which is under construction on Chamblin Road, is slated for completion in time for the August 2009 opening.
Construction on the property began this fall, but contractors will be on a tight schedule to complete the building by the proposed opening date.
Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said school could not start any later if administrators wanted to finish the first semester by Dec. 21.
Lauren Williams, the associate superintendent of student learning, said postponing the start date by two days would eliminate the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the teacher work day during fall break as holidays.
The board will review alternative calendars at its Dec. 11 meeting.
In other business, the board received updates from Sandra Thompson and Terri Duncan, the graduation coaches at Riverside Middle and Greenbrier High schools, respectively, about the new statewide initiative at their schools.
This is the first year that the county's seven middle schools have had graduation coaches.
All four high schools added the position, which is designed to keep at-risk students on track to graduate, last year.
"We all had our concerns about this from the beginning," Nagle said.
But he said, "We've got the right people doing these jobs."
Meg McGowan, the captain of the South Columbia Elementary School Relay for Life team, also gave the board an update on the annual communitywide event that is held to raise funds to battle cancer. The fundraiser will be held at the Family Y on Wheeler Road on April 25, and McGowan said the school raised more than $8,000 last year.
She said all but 13 Columbia County schools participated in last year's event.
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