A 2014-15 calendar for Hall County schools has been set, possibly in stone, based on officials’ comments.
“Once we put (a calendar) out there, the parents, teachers and the kids are all making their plans for vacation,” Hall Board of Education member Craig Herrington said at Monday night’s meeting, before the board unanimously approved the calendar.
“I would think more, if we did come into that great big pot of money that everyone seems to think is sitting out there somewhere, that we look at the next year’s calendar to extend the days,” Herrington said.
Rather, the system could look at higher pay for staff, he added.
Superintendent Will Schofield said more money could be spent on innovative “learning opportunities,” rather than merely adding another day or two to the calendar.
Georgia’s economy appears to be on the upswing, according to various reports.
Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Georgia’s net tax collections for November totaled $1.39 billion, an increase of nearly $49 million, or 3.6 percent, compared to November 2012.
Year to date, net tax revenue collections have totaled $7.34 billion for an increase of $378 million, or 5.4 percent, compared to the same time last year.
And the state’s budget was a hot topic at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast last week.
“We’re coming back into a time of prosperity,” said Rep. Timothy Barr, R-Lawrenceville, whose district includes South Hall.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Chestnut Mountain Republican, told the gathering, “With the additional revenue that we’re going to see this year, we need to make sure we restore those furlough days.
“We need to make sure that kids are back in school for a full year and they have every opportunity imaginable available to them.”
Schofield said he hasn’t “heard any talk of any kind of increased revenue that leads me to believe there’s going to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for education this year, in terms of the austerity we have been facing.
“Keep in mind we’re still spending $7 (million) to $8 million more this year than we’re bringing in.”
Schofield said the 2014-15 calendar, which calls for classes to begin Aug. 8 and end May 20, “was our best guesstimate in terms of a calendar we could afford.”
Before an economic downturn five years ago drained most school budgets in Georgia, calendars were set at 180 days for students and 190 for teachers.
“I think one of the things the teachers have said and we knew all along — they need that 10 (extra) days ... to plan, collaborate, have some professional learning,” Schofield said. “We’re asking teachers to do so much so differently.”