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Cobb School Calendar Issue Resumes

Proposals by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and board member David Banks will be discussed at Wednesday's work session.

Multiple school calendar proposals will be brought before the Cobb Board of Education on Wednesday, restarting a debate that embroiled the board for much of 2011.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who urged the board to create a committee to tackle calendar planning, will be offering a different calendar than conflicting recommendations by the panel.

School board member David Banks, a central figure in the school calendar controversy when it first came up in early 2011, also will be submitting his own proposal.

The discussion will take place at the board's monthly work session, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the board room of the Cobb County School District central office at 514 Glover St. in Marietta.

The entire agenda is available in the attached PDF format.

Hinojosa is suggesting that the 2013-14 school year begin on Aug. 7, and is proposing that only the next school year be approved now.

As he told the Marietta Daily Journal, he wants to take the calendar approval process out of the election cycle: "The next time we would then do a two-year calendar."

Cobb school board Chairman Scott Sweeney expressed similar thoughts at his town hall meeting Monday night.

"It's very important for this district to the calendar off the election cycle," he said. "We need to adopt them in non-election years."

Hinojosa's proposal (see attached PDF) would include the following breaks:

  • Thanksgiving from Nov. 25-29
  • Christmas and New Year's from Dec. 23-Jan. 7, 2014
  • Spring break period from March 31-April 7, 2014
  • Other student breaks would be scheduled on Nov. 5 and Jan. 6, 2014
  • District-wide holidays would be slated for Sept. 2 (Labor Day), Oct. 7 (Columbus Day), Jan. 20 (Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday), Feb. 17 (President's Day), and May 26 (Memorial Day)

The last day of school would be held on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

The calendar committee is divided on start dates of Aug. 1 and Aug. 6. Hinojosa's proposal is being offered as a compromise between the two.

But Banks, who strongly protested the board's 4-3 vote in 2011 to adopt a "traditional" calendar over a "balanced" calendar with more breaks, denounced Hinojosa's proposal.

"To disregard in their totality any recommendations of this (calendar) committee does not speak well of either their efforts, the public or business input during their deliberations or future committees the Board of Education may wish to convene," Banks wrote in his e-mail newsletter released Monday.

His calendar for 2013-14 (see attached PDF) would include more extended breaks for students, teachers and staff. Banks' proposal includes the following:

  • A starting date of Aug. 5, with the last day of school scheduled for May 30, 2014
  • Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holiday breaks from Nov. 25-29 and from Dec. 23-Jan. 6
  • "Interval" breaks from Sept. 16-20, Feb. 17-21, and March 31-April 4 (Spring Break)
  • The same official single-day holidays as Hinojosa's proposal.

Banks said he is continuing to push for additional break periods based on feedback he has received from parents, teachers and school staff.

Also on the board's agenda Wednesday are the following items:

  • A presentation of the district's legislative priorities by Hinojosa
  • Continuing discussions about the SPLOST IV project list
  • The system's upcoming academic strategic plan targets
  • A proposal to spend $15,000 to hire a polling company to elicit feedback pertaining to Hinojosa's performance evaluation

Which calendar should the school board go with? Tell us in the comments.

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Longtime PS Resident October 09, 2012 at 09:28 PM
We had one great year with the balanced calendar, and then election politics forced a return to the traditional calendar. Cobb County goes backward while Paulding and the others move forward. Thanks Bartlett, Sweeney, Angelucci, and Stultz....well done! And now Chairman Sweeny has the gall to say "It's very important for this district to the calendar off the election cycle," he said. "We need to adopt them in non-election years." after he voted to change the calendar after one year, right after an election! These four are an embarrassment to the school district.
Frank October 10, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Don't agree at all that the balanced calendar was a great year... It's less popular than you may think among many who don't have the luxury of having vacations so frequently during the school year. Thank flip-floppers Banks and Abraham for getting us into this mess in the first place and then for adopting a 3-year calendar which had never been done before in Cobb County. They are the ones who dropped this into election year cycles. Banks and Abraham adopted a 3-year calendar in '09 for the 10-11, 11-12 and 12-13 school years meaning we'd be looking at this debate in an election year no matter what. The idea to get this issue off election cycles makes sense.
Deborah Davis Carroll October 13, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Please post all calendar options. Are there actual avenues for parents for to vote? If not, why not? The largest controversy in this issue is the consistent effort to sideline parents. - Deborah
GS October 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM
The parents, teachers, and students of Cobb County clearly stated in a poll that they preferred the balanced calendar. 70%+ is well beyond any margin of error in the poll. The Board deliberately thumbed their noses at the people and changed the calendar. The 4 Board members responsible are a disgrace to Cobb County. I plan to do my part to vote out one of the apparent ring leaders of the "not so fab four" Allison Bartlett. The sooner we can clean up the Board the better off we will all be.

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