School Board OKs calendar for 2008-09 academic year

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Will feature two-week Christmas break

TELL CITY - In a meeting where a winter break scheduled for Friday and Monday was canceled to make up for days lost this week to bad weather, the Tell City-Troy Township School Board approved a school calendar for next year that will feature a long Christmas break.

"Next year's calendar does work out for a two-week vacation because of the way Christmas and New Year's fall," Superintendent Ron Etienne said. The calendar may need to be "tweaked" to insert an extra school day Jan. 2, and brought back to a future meeting for approval, he added.

Etienne said he couldn't meet with teachers on a calendar proposed for next year, but had their go-ahead, and it's aligned with Perry Central Community School.

Cannelton City Schools are on a different schedule, he noted, making alignment difficult.

Tell City teachers will report to school Aug. 11, and students a day later, to begin the 2008-09 academic year.

Board member Dr. Gene Ress asked why the school year will start so early.

"Christmas is one reason, and the second reason is fall ISTEP," Etienne responded, saying the district's educators want to allow as much time as possible to prepare students for annual Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress exams.

Responding to a question from board member Larry Bryant, Etienne said in-service days are rotated among different days of the week in the new calendar so the same classes aren't affected all of the time.

In addition to holidays, students will be out of school the afternoons of Aug. 28, Jan. 27, Feb. 25 and April 23 for in-service periods, Oct. 24 for fall break and March 23-27 for spring break. Bad-weather makeup days are scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 19, Presidents' Day Feb. 16 and April 27. Graduation is May 22.

A number of policies provided to the board at their last meeting underwent a first reading and will be on the agenda for approval at a future meeting.

Bryant noted one of the policies requires that any firms bidding for work with the corporation, from large construction projects to "the guy who picks up our trash," bears the burden of conducting background checks, and the requirement needs to be included in bids and purchase orders.

Etienne wasn't sure contractors such as trash-pickup crews are covered under the policy, but Bryant said it applies to "the guy who fixes a school bus, because he provides a service to the school corporation, the guy who delivers the milk, the bread, the whole ball of wax."