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Bartow County School board adds days to calendar after debate
by Monica Burge
August 29, 2013 12:10 AM | 1926 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The addition of two instruction days to the school calendar for the Bartow County School district divided the school board over concerns of fiscal responsibility and meaningful instruction time in the classroom for students.

Board members voted 3-2 to add the days, Oct. 11 and March 14, which were approved earlier as furlough days.

That gives students a total of 177 days of instruction.

Discussion on the impact of the two days covered both the school board’s work session and business meeting.

During the work session, held Aug. 12, Superintendent John Harper said his motives were pure in recommending the change.

Harper said with changes in the evaluation system in the state, more days of instruction will give teachers additional time with students to help close the gap in areas where the school system trails state averages for some subjects.

“What I wanted to do was provide as much regular instructional time for students as I could,” Harper.

During the same session, board member Matt Shultz called the move to add additional days “irresponsible.”

“I just think it’s irresponsible to do this at this point in the year,” Shultz said. “My biggest issue is the financial impact.”

Shultz said the additional days could cost the board as much as $800,000 and could affect the system’s fund balance in the future and is tantamount to “financial malpractice.”

During the business meeting Aug. 21, Shultz and fellow board member Fred Kittle were the two voting against the additional days.

Board member Anna Sullivan, who voted to approve the days along with board chair Davis Nelson and John Howard, said the additional days were in the best interest of the district’s students and that the notion that the measure would be catastrophic to the budget is “disingenuous.”

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