Como-Pickton board OKs calendar for 2007-2008

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Mar. 25, 2007 - Como-Pickton school board members recently set the calendar for the 2007-2008 school year.

Teachers will report for staff development on Wednesday-Thursday Aug. 22-23, and a staff workday on Friday, Aug. 24. Students will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 27, with June 4 the last day of classes. The first semester will end on Jan. 18, and the second semester will begin on Jan. 22. 

Staff development and work days, when students will not attend school, will be Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007; Friday, May 16, 2008; and Thursday, June 5, 2008.

Monday, Jan. 21, 2008, has also been designated as a staff work day and a Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday for students.

School holidays include: Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007; Thanksgiving, Nov. 21-23, 2007; Christmas, Monday, Dec. 24, 2007 - Friday, Jan. 4, 2008; spring break, Monday-Friday, March 17-21, 2008; Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2008.

Day designated for state assessments and exams, such as Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests, are Tuesday-Friday, Oct. 16-19, 2007; Tuesday-Friday, Feb. 19-22, 2008; Monday-Tuesday, April 7-8, 2008; Thursday, April 10, 2008; Monday-Friday, April 21-25, 2008; and Tuesday-Wednesday, July 1-2, 2008.

Food service director Lydia Walden also proposed that the district discontinue a program which provides a free breakfast to all students at a cost to the district. The board voted to continue the program through the end of the current school year, but next year to offer it only to those who are paying.

Walden also said that food "charges" will not be allowed following spring break. With the lunch program operating in the red $1,139 in February, additional rules would be enforced restricting charges at the end of the school year.

In other business matters during the regular March meeting, the board approved the bills with a few exceptions, baseball equipment and abstinence education which were approved under a later vote. Board member Gerald Walters voted against both measures, saying the boys should be able to use the equipment for longer periods of time without having to replace it. 

"They don't have to have new each year, they can go three years," Walters said.

Athletic Director Devin Gabbard noted that the coach does ensure the equipment is well cared for, including the catcher's gear, bats and caps, which sustain the most wear and tear.

Walters' complaint was that the equipment had been ordered without prior approval. He equated the situation to spending by the former superintendent. 

"I think this is the same kind of situation as when [Bryan] Neal was here," Walters said. "We're presented the bill. That's not the way it's supposed to work. ... We need to get in front of this here and see it before [the equipment is ordered]. They have options within the budget. If it's over, we should not get it."

The board approved paying the bill 5-1, with Walters voting against. Danny Moss was not at the meeting.

The motion to pay for an abstinence or sex education class for students in grades 6-12 was approved on a 4-1 vote, with Walters voting against and Brad Carr opting not to vote on the matter.

Beth Hankins noted that she was on the health committee last year which reviewed the program, which will present age-appropriate informationl. Walden explained that parents would have the option of viewing the program before it is shown to children, and of opting not to have their children participate.

"I think it's a matter we don't need to stick our head in the sand on. Kids know. I tell mine. I want my kids to have the correct information," Hankins said. 

Also during the regular March meeting, the board approved a technology plan which will include a web-based curriculum program, which would allow principals to assess teachers' lesson plans online, prepare the district for online state testing and other areas, allow teachers to do professional development online and a system for archiving district e-mails.

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