School Calendar, Admission Fees and Questions About White Pine Funding high points of Called School Board Meeting
Jefferson County School Board met for a Called Meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2017, at the Patriot Academy. As Board Members worked their way through a thin agenda, it was the first look at the proposed 2017-18 School Calendar that drew the most comments. Chairman of the Board Vines expressed his concern with a July 31, 2017 starting date for teachers, noting that there has been some push back as the school start dates have moved earlier and earlier into the year. Board Member Jarnigan concurred that he would also like to see teacher’s start date moved back to August. Another point of concern for the Board was the inclusion of a week long Fall break that would begin just one week into a new nine weeks and be closely followed by Thanksgiving and Christmas Breaks. Board Members expressed concern that the proposed timing of the break would bring undo hardship on teachers, as long breaks are generally followed by classroom re-assimilation time. With so many long breaks back to back the majority of the Board requested that the calendar committee look at adjustments. Board Member Fair inquired as to the reasoning behind a early dismissal day before the first full day of school, noting that some parents do not send their children on this abbreviated day. Central Office Administrator Sherry Finchum stated that the abbreviated day was to allow school administration to get a better count of students that would be attending and to make necessary adjustments. She said that often the abbreviated day is the first time that the Department of Education is aware of a new student. This day also allows for important paperwork, including emergency numbers and information, to be collected before the first day of school and other necessary paperwork to be passed out to students. The calendar committee will address the concerns of the Board and return with a revised calendar.
Board Members will submit evaluations for Director of Schools Edmonds this week. A handful of budget amendments were approved by the Board, all were line item adjustments and none were fund balance impacting. Board Members discussed the fees for athletic events and will receive information about the fees for admissions in various schools across the County. Board Member Cox requested that the Director of Schools prepare a written explanation regarding the reason that the School Board could use funds from the Capital Project portion of the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget for the White Pine School Project but required County Commission approval for the use of $646,000 of funds that were amended and approved through County Commission to address designated needs on an approved Capital Projects list.