Lengthen the day to shorten the year


Lengthening the day and shortening the year.  That’s what the Bath School Board is looking to do as it considers the calendar for the 2014-15 school year.   The school board asked administration to gather information on adding minutes to the school day to see how that would affect the calendar, with the goal of making summer vacation longer.

At it’s close out meeting on Monday morning, the Bath School Board heard the results of a survey sent to parents and staff.  With 246 responding, 88% indicated they were in favor of adding minutes to the day to prevent the school year from extending into the second full week of June.  Of that group, 58% said split the time between the morning and afternoon and 38% said add the extra time to the afternoon only. 

The survey also asked if holidays should be reduced in the school calendar.  Respondents were evenly split on that question.  But of those in favor of reducing holidays, 55% said shorten fall break, 34% said shorten Easter break and 27% said use Memorial Day as a school day. 

The school board had discussed possibly adding twenty minutes total to the day, with ten minutes in the morning and ten in the afternoon.   Administration has recommended adding either ten or seventeen minutes to the day.  Adding ten minutes would help school to end the first week of June and seventeen minutes would provide extra time in case of especially bad winters.  And at the high school, moving homeroom into first period would save the four minutes of travel time between those periods and those four minutes could be counted as added time.

School Board member Dr. Ellen Miller expressed concern about younger students, saying an extra twenty minutes would be hard on them.  And after discussion, board member Rhonda Grimm said she changed her mind on adding any minutes to the morning because she didn’t realize there were students getting on the bus before 7am.  The earliest bus pickup this past school year was around 6:45.

The school board is planning to vote on a change to the school calendar at a meeting on Monday, June 30, at 7pm at the School Administration Building.

In other business, Superintendent Sue Hirsh reported that the refinishing of the auditorium stage floor will be done along with the refinishing of the gym floor.  And lockers for the high school have been purchased and should be installed around the start of school.

It was also reported that just over $134,000 will be returned to the county in excess revenue.  Superintendent Hirsh said county supervisors have indicated they want to move forward with upgrades on the high school parking lot and auditorium.   The school board had hoped to purchase a new bus through the capital improvement plan and Hirsh said she has informed the county supervisors that the amount being returned is enough to purchase the bus. 

And the board also approved classified staff appointments for the 2014-15 school year and the fall coaching appointments.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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