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Sullivan County Board of Education approves 2013-14 calendar

December 3rd, 2012 10:28 pm by Rick Wagner

BLOUNTVILLE — The votes are in, and the winner is Sullivan County school calendar A that starts Aug. 5.


The county’s Board of Education Monday night voted 6-1 that the 2013-14 school calendar will start earlier than in the past, almost matching the calendar Kingsport’s school board is expected to approve later this week.


The school year will start with a half-day for students Aug. 5 instead of calendar B’s start of a half-day Aug. 12.


Fall break will be Oct. 14-18, Thanksgiving break Nov. 27-29 and Christmas break a half-day Dec. 20-Jan. 8. Spring break is March 31-April 4.


After all phone, e-mail and blog results were tallied, the vote was 767 for A, 716 for B and 221 no preference. However, among teachers, 264 voted for A, 211 for B and 18 had no preference, while support staff were evenly split at 30 each with 15 wanting C, an option the board did not put out for a vote. Parents voted 467 for A and 475 for B.


Not all teachers or parents voted, and some votes were taken by phone, e-mail or, for support staff, in Director of Schools Jubal Yennie’s blog.


After survey results were presented to the board by students services supervisor Lib Sells, BOE member Robyn Invester of Piney Flats said the board had informally discussed during its Saturday retreat that it would pick the calendar favored in the survey, and Chairman Dan Wells of Lynn Garden agreed.


However, member Todd Broughton of Bloomingdale said he would have to vote against A because of support voiced to him for B.


“I had parents respond and teachers respond five or six to one for B,” Broughton said.


Sells said the approved calendar “almost exactly” matches the expected Kingsport calendar, with spring break the same and Christmas almost the same.


“It’ll help Innovation Academy a lot,” Sells said. IA is a platform STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, school jointly operated by Kingsport and Sullivan County.


The only tweak the county board made was an amendment by Randall Jones of Indian Springs to make Feb. 17, Presidents Day, a regular school day for students instead of a day off.


That means that unless the system misses more than its banked 10 snow days, the last day for students would be a half-day Thursday, May 22. Teachers would serve an administrative day Friday, May 23, and not have to return to school after the Memorial Day weekend.


The Kingsport BOE is to set its 2013-14 calendar at its 7 p.m. Thursday meeting at the central office downtown.


On another matter, the board took no action on Bristol, Tenn., attorney Frank Slaughter Jr.’s offer to file a lawsuit challenging Sullivan Central High School’s move from 4A to 5A by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The matter was not on the agenda, but Slaughter spoke to the board during public comments.


Slaughter said he is willing to offer his services because of the plight of his girlfriend’s son, junior Matthew Kinkead, and others on the Central football team. The TSSAA move puts Central, with just more than 1,000 students, in a division with high schools roughly twice as large, including Kingsport’s Dobyns-Bennett and Johnson City’s Science Hill.


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