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Later school start likely for 2011-12
Proposal shortens Thanksgiving break
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Forsyth County News


Some parents could get what they asked for if the Forsyth County Board of Education approves the proposed 2011-12 school calendar this week.

But not everyone will be happy with the new plan, which would push back the start of the school year by one week.

Instead of Aug. 8, school would begin Aug. 15. The later start is something parents have asked for en masse, said Joey Pirkle, associate superintendent.

The trade-off would be losing the full week of vacation at Thanksgiving.

“I’m sure if we were to put this draft out again for more feedback, probably the people that we didn’t hear from in the first 842 responses, we’d probably hear a lot about, ‘Well, we don’t want to start later because we want that full week,’” Pirkle told the board Thursday.

“The responses from the feedback to start later were overwhelming, compared to people talking about the [Thanksgiving] week.”

Pirkle said parents' input was a big factor in the proposed school calendar.

It’s also why a third inclement weather day was added. The 2010-11 school calendar had just two.

The draft is just that. The board has the option to shift things around before a calendar is approved.

Two years ago, the board agreed to increase the Thanksgiving break from three days to a full week, at the request of parents.

Board member Ann Crow said she’s not sure having school on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week is best for students.

“Thanksgiving, it’s almost a wasted week because it’s hard to get the kids to focus, because they know they’re going to get out on Wednesday,” she said.

“I don’t have a dog in the fight, but it just doesn’t make sense to me because of the academic part of it.”

The board is scheduled to approve the final calendar Feb. 17.