UC’s 2013-14 school calendar issue unresolved
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 9:29 pm
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Coming up with a 2013-14 school calendar has become a particularly difficult task for the Union City Board of Education. The sticking point is the scheduling of a fall break.
The school system’s nine-member calendar committee drew up the proposal that was presented to the board Monday night. That calendar proposal had school starting on Aug. 12 for students and continuing through May 28, 2014, with 180 school days, an extended Christmas break, no school on Good Friday, a full-week spring break and a three-day fall break split over two weeks.
Under the committee’s proposed calendar, fall break for students would begin on a Thursday, Oct. 10, and would extend through that following Monday, Oct. 14. The school system’s fall break would cover five days, but only three school days.
Therein lies the conflict for at least some parents of students in the city school system.
Three separate votes on the proposed calendar were taken at Monday night’s school board meeting, which was held in the Union City High School library.
The calendar issue remains unresolved.
Board chairman Glenda Caudle defended the calendar committee’s proposal, saying it took into consideration such issues as test schedules, events involving students, teacher training and state mandates.
The first vote approved the calendar committee’s recommendation by a 5-2 vote. Voting for board member Karl Ullrich’s motion were Ullrich, Dr. John Clendenin, Mrs. Caudle, Curtis McLendon and Cathy Waggoner and voting against the motion were Wesley Conley and Dr. Wright Jernigan.
That 5-2 vote followed a formal request from an interested parent, Steve Conley, to table action on the committee’s proposed school calendar to give the committee time to draft a calendar that includes a Monday through Friday fall break.
Mrs. Caudle, who serves as board chairman, described the school calendar as the calendar committee’s “best effort.”
Conley, however, presented the board with a petition he said contained the signatures of 40 parents and grandparents opposed to the calendar.
He stated a Monday through Friday fall break would be less disruptive for students, would benefit some student-athletes, would give families sufficient time to take educational vacations, would benefit divorced families by allowing non-custodial parents more time to visit with their children and would provide more time for families to spend together.
“It can be done,” Conley said about coming up with a new calendar with a Monday through Friday fall break.
He described fall break as “one of the best bonding opportunities” for his family.
Conley attended Monday night’s meeting along with four other parents, one of whom said after the meeting they were not supportive of the request to change the calendar.
Jernigan complimented Conley with comments like, “good presentation,” “well thought out and prepared” and “you presented your case well.”
However, the board’s approval of the committee’s calendar proposal appeared to be a done deal, that is until the meeting was almost finished and Mrs. Conley questioned parliamentary procedure.
“Can we do something about this?” she said.
With that statement and a lengthy discussion about parliamentary procedure, she presented a motion to rescind the vote to approve the calendar. That motion was approved by a 6-1 vote, with only Mrs. Caudle voting against the motion.
Then Mrs. Conley presented a motion to postpone action on the calendar to give the calendar committee time to consider a calendar that includes a Monday through Friday fall break. That motion was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Mrs. Caudle and McLendon voting against the motion.
Board members Mrs. Waggoner, Clendenin and Ullrich joined with Mrs. Conley and Jernigan in voting for the motion.
Now, the calendar committee will be asked to come up with a new proposed calendar with a Monday through Friday fall break and present it to the board for consideration at its March meeting.
Members of the calendar committee include all three school principals, Director of Schools Gary Houston, attendance supervisor Donnie Cox, curriculum coordinator Vicki Wilkinson, technology supervisor Susan Parr, special education/federal projects director Britney Kendall and food services director Billie Rich.
It was last year during the process of approving a school calendar that the school board ran into a similar conflict.
Also during Monday night’s near 40-minute meeting, the board:
• Was informed by Houston that he attended a recent school safety summit in Franklin along with Union City Police Chief Perry Barfield, UCHS principal Wes Kennedy and school resource officer Raphe Whaley.
• Learned Carrie Cooper, Mary Hellen Johnson and Brian Conner have been named teachers of the year for the city school system.
• Was introduced to two of the four high school students who have been named SCOPE (Student Congress on Policies in Education) delegates. Hailey Clendenin and Molly Maclin attended Monday night’s meeting, while Halle Kennedy and Kaleigh Bynum were involved in other school activities and couldn’t attend the meeting. All four students will attend the SCOPE conference next month at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
• Approved a consent agenda that included an occupational safety and health program plan and two bids for a low-pressure steam boiler for Union City Middle School. The board accepted the low bid of $30,464 from McCoys Heating & Air of Jackson for the boiler.
• Was informed by Houston that classes will be dismissed Monday in observance of Presidents Day and there will be no school Friday with parent/teacher conferences scheduled that day.
Prior to the start of Monday night’s meeting, Clendenin led a prayer and once the meeting was officially under way, Mrs. Caudle led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 2.12.13