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BOE approves 2011 calendar for teachers

COVINGTON -- Two weeks after the Newton County Board of Education approved a student calendar following months of research, surveys and discussions, the school board now has approved a teacher work calendar for the 2010-11 school year.

During the school board's monthly work session Tuesday, the board members approved a 184-day work calendar for certified teaching staff.

The calendar is six days less than a normal school year work calendar, which in the past has been set for 190 days. This school year, the school board enacted six furlough days, after Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue requested furloughs and subsequently took away state funding.

Superintendent for Operations Dennis Carpenter has said that each furlough day reduces the NCSS budget by about $411,000 per day.

In addition to the 178 days staff will report for student school days -- two days less than a normal 180-day calendar -- they will work six additional days as work days.

Staff will start to school on Aug. 3 for three days of preplanning.

Students then will report to schools for the start of the 2010-11 school year on Friday, Aug. 6.

Students and staff will get their first break for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 6, and then a week-long fall break from Monday, Oct. 18 through 22.

Staff and students are scheduled off from school Wednesday, Nov. 24 through 26 for Thanksgiving, and the semester break will run from Monday, Dec. 20 to Monday, Jan. 3.

Staff will have a teacher work day on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Schools will close again on Monday, Jan. 17, for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. Then, students and staff will get a winter break from Wednesday, Feb. 16 through Monday, Feb. 21.

Staff will work its fifth work day on Monday, March 14, and students and staff will break again for Spring Break on Monday, April 4 through 8.

The last day of the 2010-11 school year for students will be Thursday, May 26.

Teachers will take their last work day on Friday, May 27, for postplanning.

Board member Johnny Smith opposed the staff calendar, which was a recommendation by Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley.

"I know this affects our budget," Smith said. "But what if the governor says (to take more furlough days). It's a risk we're taking. ... There's still a chance -- and a good chance -- that more are coming next year."

"We can't control what (the governor) is going to do," said school board Chair Cathy Dobbs.

Smith, whose wife is a teacher, also opposed the student calendar, which he said had too many breaks.

The school board also approved Tuesday a salary schedule for certified staffers, which Smith also opposed.

Carpenter said salary schedules are based on the 184-day work calendar and is frozen at the rates that staff earned this school year, which includes the six furlough days. Salaries range from $32,049 to $75,741, depending on their years of employment and educational degrees.

"I know teachers are tired of getting cut," Smith said.

Whatley said board members needed to vote on the two topics at the work session, instead of at the regular session next week as usual, because it had to be included in contracts that are required by law to be sent out by today.

He said staff work days can be added as supplemental days later if revenue projections or actual revenue increases.