By a vote of 5-1 Thursday, the Hawkins County Board of Education approved a change requiring kindergartners to attend a full day of school on Fridays beginning this week.
Until now kindergartners have been attending full days Monday through Thursday, and only going a half day on Friday.
Beth Holt, who is Hawkins County elementary school supervisor, told the Board of Education Thursday that all but one of the elementary school principals had endorsed the change.
Holt said one reason for the change is the added instructional time. Holt noted that kindergartners at most surrounding school systems attend a full day on Friday as well.
Some parents voiced opposition to the change as well, but Holt said the overwhelming majority of teachers, parents and principals were in favor of the change.
Holt added, “There have been some parents who have said to us, ‘I would like my child to come home on Friday. That’s a special time with us to have that time alone with them.’ They’re tired on Fridays, and we have had some parents — not nearly the majority of parents — but some parents express that (half day Friday) is a better schedule for kindergarten students.”
As far as the voices in favor of the change, Holt said many parents said it’s inconvenient to their work schedule for their child to get out after a half day on Fridays. It also adds expense to families for after school childcare and gasoline to pick up their kids from childcare on Friday.
The only no vote on the BOE was cast by Kathy Cradic who said she’d heard from some kindergarten teachers who were opposed to the change.
In other business Thursday the BOE:
•Approved recommendations from the Athletic Committee for the remaining $30,290 from the original $50,000 allocated for sports facilities improvement during 2013-14 budget year. The other $19,710 was spent to purchase commercial washing machines for the Volunteer and Cherokee high school field houses.
Among the approved projects were: $7,100 for a basketball/volleyball scoreboard in the gym and a volleyball net system at Cherokee; $7,859 for a softball scoreboard, paving the shot put, high jump, and long jump areas, and materials to cover the softball dugouts at Rogersville Middle School; $8,100 to repair/replace volleyball insert and refinish gym floor, construct roof over dugouts for softball, and complete fencing around football field area at Surgoinsville Middle School; and $7,231 for baseball and softball scoreboards at Volunteer.
•Agreed to use Safe Schools Grant funding to pay for one additional school resource officer at a recurring cost of almost $33,000. There is also a county commission budget proposal to pay for another five SROs.
•Approved a contract for the alumni football game between Cherokee and Volunteer grads to take place at Volunteer High School on Aug. 17.