Sulphur Springs schools will begin classes for the 2009-2010 school year on Aug. 24, and will officially end the year for all students on June 3, school trustees decided Monday night when approving the two calendars recommended by the District Advisory Council.
The council, composed of campus and district representatives, parents and community members, was given the basic parameters as outlined by the state regarding the school year calendar.
“The state tells us when we can start, not before the week of [Aug.] 26th,” Assistant Superintendent Randy Reed told Sulphur Springs Independent School District board trustees Monday night. “This recommendation will allow us to finish the first semester before Christmas. It includes early dismiss days for required parent conferences. It also includes the normal holidays as in the current school calendar.”
When asked by trustee Judy Gillem about the different between the two calendars, Reed explained that the first is the calendar which affects nearly the whole district and concludes on June 3.
The second is the optional flex year calendar, which includes two weeks at the end of the school year, during which high school students who do not meet other exemption requirements undergo two weeks of intensive training. The second calendar applies only to high school students. Those who pass their classes, have good attendance and have passed all sections of the TAKS test will be exempt from attending classes May 24-June 3.
Upon questioning by trustee Jack Chubb, District Finance Director Miki Eddins explained that neither students nor the district will be penalized or have counted against them average daily attendance those last two weeks because the school has adopted the second calendar which is for a shorter, optional flex year, and meets state standards.
The approved calendars require faculty to report for duty Aug. 17, and students to report for classes Aug. 24. Holidays will be Sept. 7, Sept. 18, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 21-Jan. 1, Jan. 18, March 15-19, April 2 and May 31.
Staff development and preparation days would be Jan. 4 and June 4. Early release days would be Sept. 11, Oct. 2 and Nov. 6.
High school graduation will be held on May 22 instead of the first week in June. This is due to the flex year schedule as well as a conflict of scheduling at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center the first week of June.
In other business Monday night, school trustees also approved Head Start plans, community assessment and a Head Start refunding application.
During administrative reports, Superintendent Patsy Bolton assured those present that, contrary to community rumors brought to her attention, Sulphur Springs ISD will not be cutting staff positions.
“It was brought to my attention a rumor that some people in the community have heard or were saying that Sulphur Springs is going to do like Dallas and slash positions. That is absolutely not true,” she said. “Each year, we know the number or students we are going to have and sometimes make some changes accordingly. We are not going to have to cut positions, and I don’t think there will be (cuts) for quite a few years, if then. We are in good financial shape. What they had heard was simply a rumor. There has been no discussion to cut any positions we have.”
At the end of the board meeting, the school trustees entered into executive session, during which they went through the process of contract renewals for teachers and professional staff, as is routine for the March meeting. Bolton Tuesday morning said that the contracts were renewed, with no position cuts. She said there were a few resignations and a retirement which the board accepted. Leesa Tolliver, special education director, resigned; Rebecca Roper, who had previously retired but has been working part time as curriculum and assistant director of special services, retired; high school agriculture teacher John Boles resigned; Linda Christian with the inclusion program, resigned; and Linda Stewart, second grade teacher at Austin, resigned. These changes are effective at the end of the school year or their contract.
Bolton said staff who notify administration by a certain deadline receive a notification bonus for letting the district know in advance so they can “get a jump on anyone else” in hiring professional qualified staff.
The district also is looking to replace an ESL aide at middle school who resigned to attend a school of higher education full time. Nita Rhoades, secretary to director of elementary education Connie Mabe, is moving to the business office to fill a position vacated when Alma Lockett resigned her date processing services post. The secretary spot has yet to be filled.
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