Early Start Date Shot Down for Orange Schools

By: Matt Holmes Email
By: Matt Holmes Email

Tuesday January 8, 2008

The Orange County School Board pledged allegiance, then pledged not to start the school year in mid-August.

At least not yet.

"I cannot support the calendar at this time," said School Board Chairman Jerry Bledsoe. "I hate to hang a little carrot to say 'well I might next year' but it is notice, it is information, it is giving the public a fair opportunity."

Last year, the Board organized a Calendar Committee to form a new school calendar for the 2008-2009 year, but what they came back with didn't sit well with many parents.

"Students who have summer activities...I know from my own child [does] swimming. It doesn't even end up until the second week of August," complained Lynn Moss.

"You guys want our kids back in school when summer is still summer," Tina Miller said. "I mean, it's August 12? We don't normally take our vacation until the third week in August."

Other complaints ahead of the 3-2 decision included the lack of air conditioning on most county school buses and in Orange Elementary School, but the dissenting school board members maintained this is a move that needs to be sooner or later.

"The pools I understand. The vacations I understand. Some of the other problems I understand," said School Board Member Chris Haney, "[but] I'm here to represent the students and to try to give them the best opportunity they can academically."

The argument that SOL and AP scores would rise with an earlier start was not enough to sway those critics...at least not this time.

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