Let's go back to June 2011.
Cobb schools board member David Banks puts a proposal before the Board of Education. It's a compromise calendar proposal, one that seeks to combine elements from both the "traditional" and the "balanced" calendars.
Banks openly encourages the community to email the board with their opinions leading up to the vote. Ever wonder what became of that?
First, let's go back even further. It's January 2011, and word is out that the newly elected board members may overturn the three-year balanced calendar plan. The board got emails back then, too. Board members Banks, Lynnda Crowder-Eagle and David Morgan all gave public reports about the emails they received.
Banks said he received more than 1,200 emails with 72 percent in favor of the balanced calendar. Eagle said her emails were 2.5 to 1 (or 70 percent) in favor. Morgan said that input from his constituents was 3 of 4 (or 75 percent) in favor.
Later, it would be learned how many emails the other board members had received and how many were in favor of the balanced calendar. Board Chair Alison Bartlett's 1,200 emails were 78 percent in favor of the balanced calendar. Almost 1,400 emails were sent to Kathleen Angelucci with 77 percent in favor. Tim Stultz received some 1,300 emails with 80 percent in favor. Slightly more than 1,000 went to Scott Sweeney with 76 percent in favor.
Overall, that's an average of 77 percent in favor of the balanced calendar.
Then, it's February 2011, and the calendar survey is launched. There are attempts to sabotage the survey, but the district identifies and eliminates the fraudulent responses. In the final tally, 72 percent are in favor of the balanced calendar.
Those were very similar results. Between the emails and the survey, it's about 75 percent in favor overall.
Now return to June 2011. If Banks' compromise calendar proposal were to be approved, there would be only six weeks to go before the school year began. If about 75 percent were in favor back in February, how many would you think would still be in favor in June—especially with so little time left to make a change?
It's a surprising figure—72 percent is much higher than you'd think. But 72 percent is what it was; 72 percent of those that sent their input to the board were in favor of Banks' compromise calendar; and 72 percent asked their board member vote "yes" on June 23.
Many of those that asked the board to vote "no" simply said that Banks' proposal had come too late. Six weeks before school started was not the time to change the calendar. Still, they went on to express a clear preference for the balanced calendar and asked the board to reinstate it next year.
That's just what the board is being asked to do now. Emails have been going to the board yet again. A petition for a balanced calendar in Cobb schools has been started at http://www.petitions24.com/ccsd_balanced_calendar.
Another proposal to reinstate the balanced calendar will go before the board this Wednesday in their Jan. 18 morning work session.
It's expected that the board will vote on that proposal in their full session on Jan. 26. Will community input play a role in their decision this time?
Thom Gray of Acworth is a Cobb County School District parent who is involved in the pro-balanced-calendar group Cobb Parents.