Aiken County parents react to plans for 2023-24 school year

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 7:23 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Aiken County school board approved a modified calendar for the 2023-24 school year that will include more breaks throughout the year instead of a long summer break.

On Wednesday, we talked to parent about how they’re preparing. We found, while it’s great for some, it puts others in a real bind.

“I just see so much benefit for the kids especially with all of the school they’ve missed over the past two years to then be able to make that up will benefit them,” said Kimberly Oakerlund, parent for the modified calendar.

Her daughter was held back because of learning loss during COVID. She says more retention will benefit her, she also believes more breaks will increase her son’s ability to focus, which is normally a chore.

But a big district has a lot of different students with different needs.

Alysia Ritch, parent against the modified calendar said: “My daughter is actually special needs, she’s autistic, so with her, one of her big challenges is around scheduling.” “I mean from my perspective, for my reasoning it ain’t broke don’t fix it kind of thing.”

Ritch says while a routine is everything for her daughter, she believes there are still impacts on other students.

“We’re not really preparing our kids for real life, I don’t know about you but I don’t get a break for two weeks you know every nine weeks or whatever it is,” she said.

She’s worried about kids’ summer jobs, child care, custody, teachers’ second jobs, meals, and more.

“I wonder if there’s a year where we can change their mind. I don’t think they’re quite looking through all of the perspectives,” said Ritch.

The district says they are taking this next year to figure out the best comprehensive plan for everyone.

In paper surveys sent home with students, the district says 56 percent of parents who responded voted ‘yes’ to the idea of the new calendar.

However, that was only 4,100 parents, compared to the 24,000 students in the county.

District leaders say they’re asking you to help them shape this new calendar so it can best benefit everyone, especially students.

Mike Rosier, director of communication and community partnerships with Aiken County Public School District said: “Their concerns will be addressed prior to the implementation of the 2023-24 school year calendar. Additional information is coming so just stick with us and be on the lookout for that.”

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