After several months of reviewing different options and receiving community input, the Fulton County Board of Education approved a 177-day calendar for the 2010-11 school year. The school year will begin on August 23, 2010 and end May 27, 2011.
The calendar format is a change from previous years when state law mandated that students must attend school for 180 days. New guidelines allow school systems to deviate from the 180-day calendar, provided there is no reduction in instructional time.
“I want to commend the calendar committee for looking at options that not only will keep student achievement as our focus but also will allow savings during a very difficult economic time,” said Superintendent Cindy Loe, Ph.D. “It’s quite amazing that a reduction as small as three school days can help our system save more than a million dollars per year.”
Added Julia Bernath, school board vice president: “It’s important for us to remember that it is not how many days a child spends in the classroom, it’s how that time is used.”
While the school year will be three days shorter, students actually will spend 8.85 more hours in class annually as a result of 10 minutes of added instructional time per school day. The calendar also adds more than 10 hours of classroom time for students due to the elimination of five half-day early release days when school dismissed early so that teachers could receive curriculum training. Instead of the early release days, staff will receive professional learning opportunities prior to the start of the school year as well as throughout the year on scheduled work days.
The 177-day calendar is anticipated to save $1.1 million each year due to reduced expenses in transportation and facility operations as well as personnel costs associated with positions that work with students on school days.
Originally, the school board was expected to approve calendars for both 2010-11 and 2011-12 at its October 22 meeting, but decided to approve only the 2010-11 calendar so that more time could elapse in the state’s economic situation before committing to the 177-day school year for an additional year. School board discussion on the 2011-12 calendar could pick back up as early as the spring.
To create the proposed calendars, a 17-member panel of parents, school leaders and central office administrators reviewed school board policy, testing dates, major religious and national holidays, and also examined new state calendar guidelines.
View the approved calendar:
2010-11 School Year Calendar (Option B)