Peach to continue four-day school week

FORT VALLEY — The Peach County Board of Education unanimously approved to continue its four-day school week for the 2010-11 school year at its meeting Tuesday.

Unless student achievement is adversely affected this year as a result of the modified calendar, the four-day week would be a critical way to deal with the possibility of $1.2 million in budget cuts for the system, Superintendent Susan Clark said.

“This is all we can afford to do right now,” Clark said.

Clark was confident students would perform better this year with measures such as more before- and after-school tutoring available, as well as more individualized help for the students participating in those programs.

“If test scores are not down, we have not lost ground on the four-day week,” she said.

Clark reported that the four-day school week resulted in a savings of $214,000 in operational costs last semester, as well as allowing the system to keep its professional learning days for teachers.

School officials hope paving for the new Kay Road and Hunt elementary schools will be completed in time so students can attend class in the new facilities for at least one month before the end of the current school year. Once students move to the new buildings, the system’s energy projections will need to be recalculated, Clark said.

The board also will make sure standardized testing will not be scheduled immediately after students return to school after the spring break holiday next year, on the recommendation of board member Virginia Dixon.

Aug. 3 will the first day of school under the approved calendar, and May 27, 2011, marks the end of the second semester for Peach County students, as well as graduation.

In other business, Clark announced that Peach County had been removed from the Accredited Warned status list by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, according to a Feb. 22 letter written by Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of AdvancED, parent organization of SACS.

The system was classified under a probationary accredited status in January 2008.

The school system was promoted to the organization’s warned list in November 2008, according to a statement from Clark on the school board’s Web site.

Under that designation, Peach County had shown progress in its school operations from its probationary status and would have to maintain that progress over time.

Information from The Telegraph archives was included in this report.

To contact Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.