At the February 7 meeting of the Carroll County School Board, it was decided that the last day of school would be May 27 with graduation to follow on May 28. In order to make that happen, make-up days are scheduled for April 1, April 25 and May 16 through May 27. This motion passed by a 3-2 vote.
Also, the possibility of extending the school day by 40 minutes for four weeks once Daylight Savings Time kicks in was tabled until next month.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Strader Blankenship presented the four options to the School Board. The first involved make-up days on Jan. 3, Feb. 14, April 1 and May 16 through 31.
The second option included taking April 25 as a make-up day.
The third option was to extend the school day by 40 minutes beginning March 21. Each day missed would require two weeks of an extended school day, and by beginning March 21, the school system can recoup five days.
The final option, bank time to reach 990 hours would be put into effect once the first three options become exhausted.
Laurel Fork School Board member Robert Utz asked Blankenship about needing all the make-up days listed, to which the Assistant Superintendent replied they were one-for-one, make up day for a missed day.
Chairman Franklin Jett wondered about the extended days, to which Blankenship said the 40 minutes were not set in stone.
“Maybe 10 minutes before and 30 after, 20 and 20,” Blankenship said. “It would be a week after time change to give people a week to get used to time change then implement it.”
Utz felt the extended day was unnecessary.
“We’ve got kids getting to school late now,” he said. “I would like to see us do it without extending the days. I would like to get to next month before we put them in.”
Pine Creek Board member Harold Golding felt that instead of picking items apart, the board should listen to those who organized the four items. He said parents have told him they are worried about how so many missed days are going to affect their children’s test preparation.
“We have knowledgeable people working on this schedule; parents, teachers, principals. I think they’ve come up with a pretty good plan,” Golding said. “If we’re sitting here trying to figure out some way to cheat on some hours or whatever... We have parents concerned with quality of time and SOL time. They’re concerned about those days as well as the number of days we’ve missed.”
Blankenship noted that not all of the proposals had to be accepted on the spot, but something needed to be decided upon.
“I don’t think we have to recommend everything tonight but they would like to be able to to come back and have the make up days in stone,” he said.
The conversation turned to the possibility of school on Saturdays. Blankenship said that idea, as well as continuing into June, was tossed out quickly by the committee.
Dr. Mark Burnette added another point about not going on Saturdays.
“Saturdays are traditionally poorly attended. Part of our accreditation is based on attendance,” Burnette said.
Following the discussion, Utz moved to accept Options 1 and 2. Nobody seconded the motion and it died.
Reginald Gardner then proposed taking the make-up days through May 27 and ending school at that point with graduation on May 28. Phillip Berrier seconded the motion. In a roll-call vote, Gardner, Berrier and Utz voted in favor of the motion, while Golding and Jett voted against it.