Cobb School Board Approves Superintendent's Calendar

By a 4-2 vote, members adopted Michael Hinojosa's recommendation to begin the 2013-14 school year on Aug. 7.

The Cobb Board of Education adopted an academic year 2013-14 calendar Thursday night that left some members of the appointed calendar committee disappointed.

By a 4-2 vote, the board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Michael Hinojosa for a 190-day instructional calendar that would begin on Aug. 7, 2013 and conclude on May 21, 2013.

Included in the vote was an amendment by board member Alison Bartlett to use fall semester instructional days for possible furlough days that may come up during future budget deliberations.

Hinojosa's recommendation was a modification of various proposals considered by the calendar committee, which was made up of parents and school system teachers and staff.

While that panel could not come to an agreement on starting dates, it expressed a general desire for more and longer breaks than what was approved, which has no full-week break in the fall before the Thanksgiving holiday (see attached PDF).

In a public comment session before the meeting, three calendar committee members said Hinojosa ignored their wishes.

"We came to a consensus with frequent breaks," said Smyrna parent Lisa Miler. "Dr. Hinojosa disregarded some important factors," upsetting her and others for not presenting his recommendation to the committee before making it public earlier this month.

While Hinojosa apologized to the calendar committee for that "mistake," he said that there were "a myriad of opinions on the topic" that prompted him to develop what he has termed a compromise.

"There was no clear consensus on the committee," Hinojosa said. "It was all over the place, no matter what they discussed.

"I did honor the intent of the committee. I don't really care what calendar we have, but a lot of people are wanting for us to make a decision."

Hinojosa proposed the creation of the committee to avoid future situations over the calendar that embroiled the board a year ago.

School board member David Banks, at the center of that calendar controversy, proposed at Thursday's meeting for a calendar to start on Aug. 5 and end on May 30, incorporating the longer breaks preferred by the calendar committee.

It was the same calendar he offered at this month's work session, but Banks was the only vote in favor of his amendment. He and outgoing board member Lynnda Eagle voted against final approval, with the latter objecting because of "all of the changes and all the amendments" that she said went against the board's intention of supporting whatever Hinojosa recommended.

In addition to Bartlett, board members Scott Sweeney, Tim Stultz and Kathleen Angelucci voted in favor of the Hinojosa calendar.

Board member David Morgan was absent from the meeting on family business.

Miller and other calendar committee members favoring the longer breaks wanted a school starting date of Aug. 1. But Sweeney pointed out that busy summer schedules for school construction projects, family vacations, student jobs and extracurricular activities like band camps would make that timeframe untenable.

Unlike last year, however, the disagreements were brief and the rhetoric wasn't nearly as sharp.

"Part of our own policy says that we respect what the public wants," Banks said right before the final vote. "And if we don't do that, we're not fulfilling our duty."

Don’t miss any of the local news you care about. Subscribe to West Cobb Patch’s free newsletterlike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mic I October 26, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I can see Mit's point about a break in October right around 1/2 days, the break was usually in September or early October (that is what it was supposed to be anyway, when they made and passed the 3 years worth of calendars), so wasn't such an issue, but that definitely is something to think about. I personally hate the 1/2 days, I wish they could just do 2 or 3 days off and fit in the conferences, but I think the 1/2 days count as full days as far as the number of days per year that is required by law, that's why they do it this way. Good point, though as far as the timing if it were to be in October.
Mit October 26, 2012 at 07:50 PM
"However, our test scores continue to rise each year, so I don't think anyone can claim one calendar is better than the other as far as test scores." - Interesting point - Interesting how scores continue to go up, with dramatically reduced budgets and much larger class sizes; who would ever think that would happen "And it's not all because of the new policy...that policy could have never led to that amount of days." - you don't know that In any event, glad that the board did not put in place the calendar that starts July 31.
Mic I October 26, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Mit, Yes we are very lucky to have such wonderful, dedicated teachers that work very hard to make sure that our test scores increase. Too bad our board continues to stab them in the back by taking away their pay and not listening to the majority of them. On the other note, if I don't know that the policy could have led to that many days, then I can say the same thing for your statement, how do you KNOW that "teacher absences decreased - as would be expected - because of new policy that warned teachers that absences would be considered in criteria to layoff teachers (with or without balanced calendar)."? I'm just using common sense....15,000? Really? I'm sure it's not a coincidence that they could schedule appointments throughout the year instead of squeezing them into a 9-10 week period (they don't have the full 11-12 weeks because of planning, etc).
Mit October 26, 2012 at 08:13 PM
how " do you KNOW that "teacher absences decreased - as would be expected - because of new policy " - - I'm just using common sense; Admin: Teachers, if your absences stand out - you may be cut. Teachers: Oh, I better not be absent as much. You were the one that put forth the incorrect suggestion that all 15,000 days were due to the Aug. 1 start date calendar - not me. I just brought you back to reality.
sw1 October 26, 2012 at 09:39 PM
It's called hiring a babysitter!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »