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Bartow County School Board votes to extend school days
by Monica Burge
March 04, 2014 12:41 PM | 3638 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bartow County School Board voted to extend the school day for students and staff to make up days missed due to inclement weather.

In a 4-1 vote Feb. 26 at a special called meeting, the board approved a revision of the academic calendar and staff work schedules to make up days missed during two separate snow storms in January and February.

Students will have 27 minutes added to each instruction day through the remainder of the year.

Elementary schools will be in session from 7:55 a.m. to 3 p.m. and middle and high schools will be in session from 8:20 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.

The added time will make up for four instructional days.

For staff, in addition to the 55 days of with additions of 27 minutes each, two work days were added for May 28 and May 29. One additional day with a timesheet equivalent of eight hours will also be required.

Transportation and school nutrition employees also will work the 27 extra minutes for the remainder of the year. Each group also will implement one professional development day and will have two additional days for staff development.

Employees classified as “231 employees” have five days to make up via timesheet and/or a combination of personal and/or vacation leave.

Board member Matt Shultz was the lone dissenter on the vote, citing plans for other school systems, particularly Cobb County, which voted to not add extra days or hours for make up and will leave planning to individual principals.

“Even at this table when we were talking about the calendar before there were arguments made that just adding minutes to the end of the day is not really usable time, so I think it’s a little bit interesting that’s the way we’re choosing to handle it this way,” Shultz said. “I would have liked to have seen us do something more innovative.”

Shultz said the make up plan presented to the board appeared to be a “big, broad brush” solution.

“I don’t think we’re considering the full implication of how adding this time will impact the community as well,” Shultz said.

Superintendent John Harper said he found it “difficult” to pay employees of the school system for days they did not work.

“I don’t think our community would support that,” Harper said, adding that those days cost the system close to $2.8 million in salaries.

Board chair Davis Nelson said he also was concerned about being financially responsible and added that he supported a plan that was “the least disruptive” for students and staff.

“I like a consistent plan that we’re doing from school to school,” Nelson said.

Harper said he had “no preconceived ideas” about the make up plan before he met with principals Feb. 21 to discuss a possible course of action.

The plan presented to the board, he said reflects the best course of action based on those discussions.

“The information came from them,” Harper said. “It wasn’t me telling them what to do.”

At the meeting the board also approved revising the testing calendar.

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