Parents oppose year-round school schedule - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Parents oppose year-round school schedule

October 1, 2004

Douglas-Marie and Ed Elliot are calling on all Coffee County parents to take a stand against a year-round school schedule.

"The teachers, as well as the students, I'm sure most of the teachers agree that they need a break," says Marie Elliot.

The Elliots grew angry when they heard the school board had looked at several school calendars that would shorten the time their 12 year old son and other Coffee County students get for summer vacation.

"The fact that they were doing it secretly and going to just pop it on the parents and the children in the 2005, 2006 school year that is what really, really, really upset me," Marie says.

Superintendent Billy Smith admits the board has had discussions, but that's all he says they were... discussions.

"Anything in terms of more school days I think would be wonderful personally, because we would certainly have kids longer to teach kids etcetera, but there's nothing to that, we haven't done that, the board has not acted on anything like that," Smith says.

He says it's customary for school boards to look at alternative schedules from time to time, and if a year-round schedule were ever proposed, parents would definitely have an opportunity to voice concerns before a final vote was taken.

"Of course we're always looking at different things, but certainly no we have to be voted on openly etcetera as it is every year," Smith admits.

At least for now, school officials say things are going well, so change would likely be a step in the wrong direction.

The Elliots began circulating their petition on Wednesday. So far they have 25 signatures.

The Coffee County school board may not be changing the school calendar, but they are asking voters to approve a one-cent sales tax.

On November 2nd, Coffee County voters will decide on a one-cent sales tax increase that would help fund surveillance systems in the schools, the construction of a new middle school, and renovations to all the elementary schools.

They say the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax would generate $28 million in funding.

"With the budget cuts last year the state cuts 1.7 million we had to cut 1.7 million from our local budget so with out a SPLOST it is very difficult to maintain the level of instruction that we're at right now," says Superintendent Billy Smith.

The last time the voters approved a SPLOST for education was back in 1997.

Posted at 5:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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