The Bulloch County Board of Education holds its first meeting of 2018 at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and is slated to approve calendars for the next two school years.
In mid-December, a calendar committee sent school system employees a survey with two options for the 2018–19 term, plus two options for the 2019–20 term.
“We’re doing a two-year calendar,” school system Chief Financial Officer Troy Brown explained in a December interview. “The past few years, we’ve only done one year at a time.”
Three teachers, three principals and some central-office staff members serve on the committee. They first sent all of the principals in the 15-campus Bulloch County Schools a preliminary survey seeking suggestions for the calendar. Principals were also asked to forward an internet link to a similar preliminary survey to their school councils.
School council members include parents and business owners, Brown noted.
“We tried to really reach out and involve the community,” he said.
Why two years?
The committee has proposed adopting a calendar for a second year in advance to give parents and community organizations more time to plan.
“That way they know what’s coming up not just in the next year but in the following year,” Brown said. “We do have organizations sometimes that contact us wanting to know ‘When is this break going to happen? When is that?’ and likewise parents, they have things going on.”
In one of the 2018–19 calendar options, the first day of school for students would be Aug. 1, and schools would be closed five days for fall break Oct. 15–19, which is the week of the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair. In the other option, students would start school Aug. 7 and then get three days off, Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 17–19, during fair week.
In both options, Friday, May 24, 2019, will be the last day of school for students, and teachers and other school employees will then have Memorial Day, May 27, as a holiday before their final in-service and post-planning days.
Similarly, both options for the 2019–20 school year designate Friday, May 22, 2020, as the last day of school for students, with the following Monday, Memorial Day, as an employee holiday. But one option would have school start on Aug. 1, 2019, with a full five-day break during fair week the following October. The other would make Aug. 6 the first day of school, with the last three days of fair week as fall break.
These are options for the next two school years. The current, 2017–18, school year concludes for students May 25.
The possibility of make-up days in the current school year was not on the board’s agenda as of Wednesday but is being discussed by administrators.
With six class days cancelled because of snow and a tropical storm and after more than half of all students also took an offered solar eclipse day, the schools in 2017–18 are running seven days short of the traditional 180 class days.
But with Bulloch County Schools being a Strategic Waivers School System exempt from specific state requirements, whether make-up days are scheduled remains a local decision, said BCS Public Relations Specialist Hayley Greene.
The school district let parents know with an email Monday that make-up days are a possibility, but no decision had been made as of Wednesday afternoon, she said.
For the next two school years, the proposed calendar options each build in four potential “weather make-up” days during what will otherwise be breaks. This is being done as a courtesy to let parents know when the make-up days could occur, whether or not any would ever be used, Greene said.
Chair and vice chair
Thursday’s session is the Board of Education’s 2018 organizational meeting. The eight elected members are to choose from among themselves their chair and vice chair for the year.
Like most of the board’s meetings, it will be held in the boardroom at the Bulloch County Schools headquarters, 150 Williams Road, Statesboro. Members will also adopt a schedule of meeting times and places for the year.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.