Vickie Decker was sworn in as a member of the Effingham County Board of Education Wednesday. Decker is filling the seat vacated by Vera Jones, former chairperson, who resigned last month after moving out of District 5.
Board chairman James Dasher welcomed Decker to the board.
“What a great day to start the first day of school,” he said.
Lamar Allen was voted as vice chair for the board.
Superintendent Randy Shearouse said at the beginning of each year a chair and vice chair are elected by the board.
Board member Troy Alford nominated Allen. Allen was the only nominee. Board member Eddie Tomberlin said he wanted to clarify that Dasher was going into the position of chairman because he was vice chair.
The board approved the proposed calendar for the 2009-2010 school year. The first day of school for students will be Aug. 5.
Shearouse said it is similar to the current calendar, and he believes it is important to finish the first semester prior to the Christmas break in order to allow end of course testing prior to the break.
“Something mentioned also is the turnaround time it takes to see whether or not a kid was successful in the first semester, then turn around and put them in classes for the second semester,” he said. “If you don’t have that Christmas break, it makes for a very short turnaround time to put them in classes.”
He said there has been positive feedback on the breaks through the year that the calendar allows for.
“I think we’ve taken a deep look into this to see if there is anyway we can possibly start school later, and because of testing and other reasons, it’s probably better that we divert back to this particular calendar for this upcoming school year,” board member Troy Alford said.
He said he thinks if school was to start two weeks later it would take away from students, teachers and administrators.
Shearouse said most of the surrounding counties are on a similar calendar.
“With the exception of Chatham, they are all pretty much on the same calendar we’re on, and I think there’s a reason for that,” he said.
Shearouse said it also allows for the breaks including fall break and spring break.
“People want three days at Thanksgiving,” he said. “We used to go all the way through without having all the breaks.”
He said there have been many people who want the extra breaks.
“We did do a survey two years ago,” Shearouse said. “There were some concerns starting out that early because of the heat, but those were minimal.”
Alford asked if there could be another survey conducted to get feedback on the calendar.
“By starting a week from now or two weeks from now, some of the complaints I’ve gotten have also been heat, but I don’t see Aug. 16,18, 21, being any different than Aug. 6. It’s just hot out there, and as we all know living in the South, it’s hot,” he said.