Process Proposed for Cobb School Calendar
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa wants a committee to help enact a schedule at least nine months in advance.
The Cobb County school calendar, the issue that never dies, is back again today.
His plan would add a three-step process to craft the two-year calendar:
- The superintendent would form a committee representing the various interests in the school system to study the options and recommend at least two to the board.
- The committee would start its work in August and make its recommendations by Oct. 1.
- The board would adopt the calendar at least nine months before its start.
No such process guided the board through calendar changes and proposals this year.
North Cobb’s Kathleen Angelucci, East Cobb’s Scott Sweeney and Smyrna’s Tim Stultz joined the board in January determined to overturn the balanced calendar, which was enacted in November 2009 and went into effect in August 2010. With the support of Chairwoman Alison Bartlett, whose district is south and west of Marietta, they succeeded on a pair of 4-3 votes in February.
The resulting calendar pushed this school year’s start back two weeks to Aug. 15, eliminating a weeklong September break for which some teachers and parents had booked vacations.
The calendar came up again and again:
- Angelucci and Bartlett, for example, took criticism at town-hall meetings.
- David Banks, who represents East and Northeast Cobb, made repeated attempts to reconsider the calendar. His last proposal failed in June.
- Angry parents used the open-records law to obtain hundreds of pages of school board email messages and other documents related to calendar discussions.
- The county grand jury called the entire school board to explain the calendar decisions and other actions.
- The accrediting agency for the school system forced Hinojosa’s predecessor, Fred Sanderson, to answer questions about board governance and raised a threat to the system’s accreditation.
The current calendar runs through the 2012-13 school year.
Bartlett told the Marietta Daily Journal that the board supports having a process but needs to work out the details.
In comments posted with the proposal, Board Attorney Clem Doyle raised questions about the timeline. He noted that the grand jury recommended the board adopt calendars 12 months in advance and worried that the committee wouldn’t have enough time between August and Oct. 1.
Doyle also raised the possibility of making the policy more flexible: “Does the board want to allow for some mid-year changes to the calendar, perhaps limited to minor changes, with less restrictions? Sometimes unforeseen circumstances (due to weather, for example) require a tweak.”
Hinojosa also recommends mandating a weeklong holiday at Thanksgiving as a part of the board policy.
Doyle offered a more flexible alternative: “You might instead use a phrase similar to the Christmas holiday phrase: ‘Thanksgiving holidays to include Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving at a minimum.’ ”
The school board’s work session starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Central Office, 514 Glover St., Marietta, but the day’s agenda indicates that the calendar discussion will come in the afternoon.