Board of Education approves new calendar
by Taylor Pardue
The Elkin City Schools board of education approved its 2013-14 calendar Monday night.
Foley Norman, Stewart Roten, and Dr. Richard Brinegar voted unanimously for the calendar. James Freeman and Haley Sullivan were not present.
School Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe unveiled the calendar to the board. The calendar is the final version of more than six editions that the board had to choose between.
The new calendar keeps the number of days at 180 while meeting the state-required number of hours for students. Under North Carolina law schools must have 185 school days or a minimum of 1,025 hours. While Elkin does not have 185 days they do meet the hour stipulation.
North Carolina legislation has set Aug. 26 as the latest schools can start in the school year, which Elkin will begin on. ECS will begin its Christmas break on Dec. 20, but students will not be able to have exams before leaving for the holiday. Bledsoe said that, because of the start date set by the state, the calendar could not be altered to allow early testing. Testing is set for the week of Jan. 13-17.
In this adopted calendar every nine-week period is 45 days exactly. Teachers will have a workday to get grades in following the nine weeks. Feb. 28 will be a professional development day for teachers, with an optional workday on Memorial Day.
One item the board had tried to fix into the calendar was a day off for students on the holiday. Under this version the board reached a compromise with the option for teachers if they so chose. This allows the calendar to contain enough workdays and professional development days in the year.
Inclement weather days have been included, but few are in the first half of the year. Bledsoe said he hoped for no bad weather. If students use up too many inclement weather days the school would have to make them up somewhere throughout the year. Bledsoe said the school system was “trying to avoid Saturday schools at any cost” when it came to when those days could be made up.
The ‘13-14 calendar will include four early release days, including Oct. 31. The day gives students an extra chance to dress for Halloween. Also, Dec. 20 as Christmas break begins and June 6.
June 6 will be the final day of school.
The board approved the 2013-14 budget as well. One item of note was a proposed 2 percent salary increase for teachers. However, in Gov. Pat McCrory’s newly unveiled state budget includes a 1 percent salary increase, which remains to be sorted out.
When the new fiscal year begins in July, ECS will receive money from the state for its yearly budget, but is expected to return a portion of that to the state in September. Elkin City Schools’ Finance official Jan Zachary said the school system expected the value of expected returns to total $345,000, or roughly seven teachers the system would not be able to hire. Dr. Bledsoe explained to the board that the schools have been able to retain all their current teachers through these reductions, but could not hire more.
In what the state calls “discretionary reduction,” schools will be expected to return a total of $376 million, according to the North Carolina Public Schools budget information. Elkin is also expecting a cut in textbooks and instructional supplies.
The approved budget will be presented to the Surry County Commissioners at a April 9 meeting in Dobson.
Dr. Bledsoe honored Alex Powell at the meeting. Powell is the Elkin Elementary School music teacher, but also helps Ms. Tonya Smith with the high school music program. Powell is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has been in Elkin for two years.
Bledsoe said he was very thankful that Powell had chosen ECS to work for. He said the staff of Elkin Elementary had given Powell many praises for his efforts.
Powell thanked the board for making the system a great place to work and said he enjoyed both the school and the community.
To contact Taylor Pardue call 336-835-1513 ext. 15, or email him at email@example.com.
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