KERMIT – The Mingo County Board of Education (BOE) held a Special Calendar Hearing Tuesday, March 22. The meeting was held at Kermit Pre-K8.
Dr. Richard Duncan approached the BOE to explain the proposal. “Since about three years ago, when the legislature changed how the school calendar is approved, we have held meetings like this so the public has a chance to comment on the calendar before we are voting on approval. “
Duncan explained the process involved in developing a Calendar Committee. “This proposal was developed by a committee. Every year, we assemble a committee of folks that is representative of our employees. We invite counselors, principals, and representatives from local union chapters. We also try to invite a few others to make sure we have a representative body there to discuss the calendar because it does impact more than students and teachers…”Duncan stated.
Duncan explained the two calendar proposals stating, “We have two proposals. There is a bill on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature: House Bill 4171. It was passed by both the House and the Senate. That is why it is waiting on the Governor. It (the bill) would make some changes to the school calendar for the 16-17 school years…”
According to a summary provided by Legiscan, the purpose of House Bill 4171 is, “to provide that school instructional terms for students begin no earlier than the day after Labor Day and end no later than the second Friday in June. The bill provides that in the event instructional days need to be cancelled the county boards of education must provide for ten technology days whereby assigned classwork may be completed. The bill also provides for homework packets be provided to students who do not have the necessary computer access at home.”
If the bill is passed, very little changes would occur to the calendar but would allow for the use of instructional time to be used for make-up days. “The changes are minor for the calendar. The major change is that we would be able to use instructional time beyond what is required to make up days… In an event like last year, this would help us tremendously by allowing us not to have go through and make up all those extra days, we could do that with extra time instead. Again, that is pending the Governor signature…” Duncan stated.
House Bill 4171 would also limit the amount of preparation days scheduled during the school year. “In the bill, there is a minor change that would be an impact on us. It changes the way preparation days can be scheduled. Traditionally, we have had two of those, one at the beginning of the year and one at the end of the year. This year, we started a new thing. We added one right before the second semester before we came back from Christmas Break. It was very popular. It gave the kids an extra day of break. It gave our teachers and service personnel a chance to come in and prepare for the new semester. The way the bill has changed how calendar is applied is that it only allows for one preparation day for the entire year and that is at the very beginning of the calendar. We would have to schedule CE days or something else in place of the preparation days,” Duncan said.
The passage of the bill would also have an impact on the number of times the faculty senate meets within a year. Duncan explained stating, “The only other change that would happen if the Governor does sign the bill is that the Faculty Senates would meet six times a year instead of five.”
Currently, the calendar proposals are available on the BOE website. “These proposals are available on the website. The public can go online and leave comments using the website or they can come to one of these two meetings,” Duncan explained. The proposal can be found by visiting http://mingoboe.us/calendar_comments.php.
The next calendar hearing will be held on April 26, 2016 at 4 p.m.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)