School calendar gets mixed reaction
HUNTINGTON -- Parents and teachers were able to voice concerns and also lend support to the proposed calendar at a second public hearing on the issue at the Cabell County Board of Education's regular meeting Tuesday.
The board will vote on the proposed calendar, which was mandated by the state legislature to take effect during the 2014-15 school year, during its next regular meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the central office.
The board approved a measure to move up its next regularly scheduled meeting from Tuesday, March 18, to Tuesday, March 11, to accommodate spring break in Cabell County that takes place from Monday, March 17, to Friday, March 21.
Michele Woodall, a parent from Culloden, commented during the first public hearing on Feb. 25 that the proposed calendar, which has a start date of Aug. 6, cuts too short summer time that otherwise could be spent on outdoor and family activities.
During Tuesday's meeting, she said several teachers thanked her following the Feb. 25 meeting, saying they felt they couldn't speak out about the calendar because they were fearful for their jobs. She also said the proposed calendar would negatively impact the local economy.
"Do not fail to recognize the impact you'll have on our economy by doing this," Woodall said. "It will have an impact on the local amenities we enjoy. Not all of us can afford to take a vacation to the tropical locales or go skiing for a week. It's very expensive. Our local economy, we aren't a rich area, and we need these local things that people can do that are inexpensive."
The proposed calendar was one of three calendars created by a committee consisting of teachers, administrators, parents, students, board members and central office employees, and those calendars were put to a vote before county school employees. The proposed calendar received 624 votes out of the 1,192 employees who voted on the three options.
Those numbers, which were presented during the meeting, were reason enough for Denis Chapman, a teacher and member of both the West Virginia Education Association executive committee and the Cabell County Education Association, to support the calendar, saying he understood there were limited options in how the committee could structure the calendar.
"If you looked at the numbers, it was the one calendar that more than half of the faculty and staff voted for," Chapman said. "There's not much that can be done with the calendar when we look at what is required by the state legislature. We have been dictated as to what has to be done by when. The calendar committee had very little they could move around or suggest because they require so much."
In other business, the board approved the transfers or outright hiring of 28 teachers and administrators to staff the Expeditionary Learning school that will result from the consolidation of Geneva Kent and Peyton elementary schools for the 2015-16 school year.
Twenty-seven of the 28 hires are transfers from other schools in the system, and priority for positions at the new school was given to faculty currently employed at Geneva Kent and Peyton who bid on the positions, said Vickie Adkins, professional personnel manager for the school system.
She said no teachers will lose their jobs as a result of the consolidation, and the teachers from the schools who did not receive jobs at new school will be transferred to positions within the system.
She said between the transfers and anticipated retirements, that no one would lose a job as a result of the consolidation.
Follow Reporter Lacie Pierson on Twitter, @LaciePiersonHD.
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