SUMMERVILLE, Georgia (WDEF) – Hundreds of students protested a proposed major school change by briefly walking out of class on Thursday.
Administrators of Chattooga County High gave the students about five minutes to demonstrate and waive signs.
The students are defending the current 4 day school week.
The County switched to the 4 day schedule (taking Mondays off) in 2010 as a way to save money.
Supporters claim that not only did costs drop, but student test scores have risen as a result.
But three school board members are pushing a return to the five day week next year.
The process has not gone smoothly.
Board member John Turner resigned during a meeting, saying the rest of the board refused to publicly debate the change. He later rescinded his resignation.
Then School Superintendent Jim Lenderman announced he would retire at the end of the year. He presented and oversaw the move to four days.
At the school board meeting on Thursday night, the board accepted the Superintendent’s resignation.
Dozens of students and parents taunted the board members over the 5 day week.
They hooted at a board vote to move public comments to the end of meetings from now on.
The board proposed 3 different calendars for next year, all versions include five day weeks. But after some discussion the three plans were rejected.
At the next board meeting, they will consider a five day week, 180 day year schedule.
At the end of the meeting, residents got a chance to address the board and attack the 5 day week.
Parent Bonnie Fletcher described their previous vote… “a hasty meeting decision was made to go back to a five day school week with no supporting research or even valid reasoning.” She now says they are scrambling to find money to pay for a fifth day.
Retired teacher David Rogers worked at Chattooga High under both four and five day calendars. He says the four day week saved the school system from financial ruin & the end of it would be disastrous.
“The direction you’re headed is a place I’ve already been. I can see down the track to where you are leading us. The bridge is out. All I see is a train wreck.”
A common complaint was that the new board members took their vote without even visiting any schools.