School Calendar Debate

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September 19, 2005
Some parents in Columbia County are still pushing for a later start date for schools. Some people think students are better off taking their final exams before the break.

Teacher Mary Stout likes the schedule the way it is.

“I really think it’s more beneficial to the students if they finish their exams before the Christmas break,” Stout said.

That’s how it is now. But parent Lynn Gilmore disagrees.

“It makes a lot of sense to change to a traditional calendar,” Gilmore said.

Her group, “Columbia County Parents,” sent out an independent survey to parents about the school calendar.

“We’re very excited that the board wants to do their own survey, we want to be very involved in that,” Gilmore said.

School Superintendent Tommy Price says they may reconsider the way they are doing it now.

“We all agreed that it’s probably time to reaffirm the majority feelings of our parents,” Price said.

The school calendar will stay the same for now, but it may change for the 2007 school year. Superintendent Price says they will put together a committee to look at the calendar again. Some parents think this will give the students a break to absorb the material before finals. But Mary Stout likes it the way it is now.

“Because the school is the way it is now, they do have breaks throughout the semester before the final exam,” Stout said.

Parents will be able to give their input when the official survey goes out. Another part of the argument is about money. Representative Joe Wilkinson from Atlanta is pushing a bill that will make all Georgia schools start in late August. He says starting early is costing Georgia tourism $2.4 billion each year. He also says when a school in Tulsa went to the traditional calendar, they saved $500,000 in the first week.

This bill has not done well so far, but Representative Wilkinson plans to reintroduce it in January.