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Roane County Schools plan year through 2010

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

rclawrence@bellsouth.net

No one can accuse the school system of not planning ahead when it comes to setting the school calendar.

The Roane County Board of Education voted 9-1 Thursday night to approve the calendar for the 2009-10 school year.

“Parents like to plan vacations ahead of time and not wait until the last minute, so if we can keep two years ahead of us, that just helps everybody,” board member Tyler Overstreet said. “Everybody can plan accordingly.”

The calendar for the 2008-09 school year was approved at the February meeting.

Both calendars include a week-long fall break.

Board members received some backlash from teachers and constituents when they approved a calendar in November that included just two days for fall break.

That calendar was later scrapped in favor of the one the board approved in February.

Board member Mike “Brillo” Miller cast the lone no vote Thursday night. He also voted no on the calendar that was approved in February.

“I just believe school is starting too early,” Miller said. “I just believe it’s way too early.”

The current school year started in early August during the hottest time of the year.

Many air conditioners broke down throughout the system, leaving students and teachers in hot classrooms.

According to Director of Schools Toni McGriff, the school system spent $38,848.61 on air-conditioning repairs and new air-condition units during the first 30 days of the current school year.

Overstreet said the air-conditioning issues are irrelevant when it comes to the school calendar.

“I really don’t think we base our school calendar on whether we have good air conditioning or not,” he said.

“The way the state lays out how many number of days we got to come to school and the fact that we realize our teachers value a fall break, we can’t do it any other way.”

The first day of school for the upcoming school year is set for Aug. 11. The 2009-10 calendar calls for school to start on Aug. 10.

Miller said he believes the air-conditioning problems will continue, but he doesn’t plan to ask the board to revisit the 2009-10 calendar if history repeats itself this August.

“It wouldn’t be any reason for me to, because it wouldn’t have a chance of passing,” he said.