Cobb Schools Calendar Remains Hot Topic
Matter not on Thursdays agenda, but discussion continues to heat up.
Cobb County Board of Education member David Morgan of Post 3 said he received more than 200 e-mail messages in the past 12 days about the school system's balanced calendar, but board members are not scheduled to discuss the issue at Thursday's meeting at 7 p.m. in the Central Office boardroom.
Board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of Post 7, however, expects to hear many opinions about the calendar during the 30-minute public comment session at the start of the meeting.
And at a town hall meeting at Brumby Elementary School Wednesday night, East Cobb school board member Scott Sweeney heard from several parents about the matter.
"I support a traditional calendar," said Sweeney, who took office earlier this month.
The board revived the calendar controversy during a work session Jan. 14. Cobb County is using the balanced schedule, which roughly divides the school year evenly before and after winter vacation, for the first time this school year. A traditional calendar starts later but can cause the first semester to stretch into January and force students to finish projects during the holidays.
“I’ve received more e-mails for the balanced calendar, but I’ve also received quite a few e-mails from people that want to return to a more traditional calendar,” said Morgan, whose post includes McEachern, Pebblebrook and South Cobb high schools.
Because Bartlett was having “computer issues,” she said she wasn't sure about the number of e-mail messages she had received.
Although the calendar isn’t scheduled to be discussed again until the board's Feb. 9 work session, Thursday’s meeting will include discussion and votes on several other issues that have generated debates among board members and the community.
There are five consent items scheduled to be voted on without discussion, as well as eight discussion items that could be voted on.
The consent items cover the disposal of surplus school property, a bid for the diesel emissions retrofit program, amended charters for Imagine International Academy's Mableton and Smyrna locations, and a performance contract for the district’s Success for All Students project.
Of the scheduled discussion topics, eliminating administrator payouts for unused vacation and leasing Compton Elementary land to T-Mobile to build a cell tower are likely to spark the most debate. School board members will receive an update from Superintendent Fred Sanderson comparing other area school systems’ vacation accrual policies.
The board also will discuss and likely vote on reuniting its Facilities & Technology Committee, which was split last year; the committee's first meeting is scheduled for Feb. 7. That item was added to the original agenda, Bartlett said.
The board also will discuss:
- Adopting code-of-ethics and conflict-of-interest policies that comply with the model code the state Board of Education adopted.
- Confirming $62 million in construction notes. The work covered by that borrowing includes renovation projects at Kennesaw Mountain High and Vaughan Elementary in Post 1, Belmont Hills Elementary and Campbell High in Post 2, Addison Elementary, Murdock Elementary and Tritt Elementary in Post 5, Eastvalley Elementary in Post 6, and LaBelle Elementary and Osborne High in Post 7.
- Revising the district's strategic plan reports to include the percentages of students meeting and exceeding targets.
- Extending the annual transportation contract with Telematics Solution.
- Purchasing 100 72-passenger buses with a $1.6 million grant from the state.
The board is scheduled to recognize:
- Walton High’s girls cross country and volleyball AAAAA state champion teams.
- Pope High’s girls volleyball AAAA state champion team.
- The 35 Cobb County schools recently honored by the Georgia Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education.
- Gary Coltek, Kennesaw State University's culinary services director.
- School counselors with a proclamation for National School Counseling Week, Feb. 7 to 11.
Bartlett said the board will not discuss the superintendent search because the application deadline isn’t until Monday. She said the board may discuss the results of the search in late February.
Besides, Morgan said the agenda is long enough for Thursday's meeting to “take at least a couple hours, easily.”
Morgan will have his first town-hall meeting of the year at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Pebblebrook High in Mableton. He conducted several of the meetings last year.