School calendar approved with early release days

JONESBORO — Students will have 10 early-release days next school year.

School officials said the days are needed to give teachers time to undergo professional development training during the work week.

The Clayton County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to approve its 175-day school calendar for 2013-14.

The calendar, which includes 24 days of break, was approved based on responses received through an online survey at the district’s website.

District 9 member Charlton Bivins pointed out that fewer than 2,000 people participated in the survey, though the district serves roughly 52,000 students who would be affected.

The calendar devotes seven days to professional development every other Wednesday during fall semester, beginning Aug. 21 through November, and in three days in spring semester, Feb. 5, Jan. 5 and May 7. On those days students would be released an hour earlier.

Officials said out of the 1,798 survey respondents, 63 percent (1,131) voted for the option. About 17 percent (304) voted to begin classes two hours later on those days and 20 percent (363) voted to begin class one hour later. There were 402 comments made on the issue.