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Houston presents board 3 choices for school calendar

By Bayne Hughes ∑ 340-2432

Superintendent Sam Houston presented the Decatur school board three choices Tuesday for the 2007-08 school calendar.

Proposals 1 and 2 would start the school year Aug. 9 and end it before Memorial Day. Proposal 3 would have classes begin Aug. 16, with the school year ending three days after Memorial Day.

Teachers would return for a teacher workday Aug. 3 under proposal 1, but they wouldnít return until Aug. 6 under proposal 2, with the workday moving to the end of the first semester.

Houston said the first proposal virtually mirrors the current school calendar.

Houston and board members seem to favor proposals 1 and 2, saying they donít think the community would like school ending after Memorial Day.

School board members Carol Sandlin and Karen Duke said 1 and 2 are preferable because students are back from spring break for a week before entering the two-week period for standardized testing. Under proposal 3, students would return from spring break and immediately jump into standardized testing.

Houston said he presented the third proposal to show what a calendar would look like with a later start. Many in the stateís tourism industry have pushed for a uniform start day later in August.

Houston said those pushing a uniform calendar also want classes to end before Memorial Day, but he said thatís not possible given the five class days the state Legislature added to the school calendar last year.

The superintendent said the citywide PTA will see the proposals Wednesday. Principals will probably present them at faculty meetings next week. The proposed calendars also will be on the school systemís Web site,

Houston said he would receive feedback and then make his recommendation at the Feb. 13 school board meeting.

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