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Public input on school calendars ends today

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Education will have to decide how to handle holidays for the next two school years on Monday.

Board members will vote on the proposed school calendars for the 2008-2009, and 2009-2010 school years, during their Jan. 7 meeting at 7 p.m., at the district's Central Administration Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

There is a Plan A and a Plan B for each school year, and board members will have to choose which plan they like for each calendar.

"There is not a lot of flexibility involved when you are planning a school calendar," said school district spokesman, Charles White. "You have to give 180 days of instruction for students. You have to give 190 for teachers and instructional staff, so they can teach, have work days and do both pre- and post-planning. Work must start on the first business day of August, so employees, such as teachers, can get their full benefits for the month."

District officials are asking the public to offer input by 5 p.m., today, although opinions will be accepted through Monday. White said he will begin compiling the data over the weekend. He will add any input he receives over the weekend and on Monday to the data he has already received.

District officials will use the public's input as a basis for their decision about which calendars will be recommended to the board on Monday night by Interim Superintendent Gloria Duncan.

Each plan is currently posted on the school system's web site, www.clayton.k12.ga.us. Copies of the plans are also available for inspection at the central administration complex and every branch of the Clayton County Library system. White said Clayton County residents can offer their opinions by calling him at (770) 473-2735, and by e-mailing their responses to calendars@clayton.k12.ga.us.

He said he would prefer any input he receives over the weekend to be submitted over the phone.

The two alternatives for each school calendar are only slightly different, and the main difference involves the student holidays. Plan A for the 2008-2009 school year calls for a week-long Thanksgiving holiday in the fall, and a three-day winter break in the spring semester.

Plan B, however, would give students only three days off for Thanksgiving, and a week off for the winter break.

Meanwhile, plan A for the 2009-2010 school calls for students to begin classes on Monday, Aug. 10, 2009. Plan B, for the same year, would have students beginning school on the preceding Friday, with an extra day added onto the Labor Day holiday.