OSD students will return to school on Aug. 8.
After much back-and-forth discussion, motions made, motions failing and motions being rescinded, the Oxford School District Board of Trustees approved the calendar for the 2018-2019 school year Friday that has students returning to school on Aug. 8.
At the board’s regular meeting last month, board member Ray Hill said he had heard from several parents who were unhappy with the originally proposed calendar that would have had school starting on Aug. 6. He claimed parents felt it was too early and inhibited summer vacation plans.
The board agreed to look at other options and scheduled a special meeting Friday.
The board reviewed three options.
Option A was the original schedule that had school starting on Aug. 6; a fall break with students having three days off and teachers having two days off with one work day; Christmas break starting on Friday, Dec. 21 with a half-day on Thursday, Dec. 20; and a full week off for Thanksgiving.
Option B had school starting for students on Aug. 8, teachers having one day off for fall break and one work day, and students having two days off; a full week off for Thanksgiving; and Christmas break starting on Monday, Dec. 24 with a half day on Friday, Dec. 21.
Option C had school starting for students on Aug. 8; teachers having two days off for the fall break and students having three days off; shortening Thanksgiving break to three days instead of a full week; and Christmas break starting on Dec. 21 with a half-day on Dec. 20.
Hill wanted an option that had school starting on Aug. 8 and eliminated the fall break, claiming it was a hardship for parents to find daycare for children on random off days that weren’t holidays; however, the board did not vote on that option.
“I welcome a full week for Thanksgiving,” said board chairman Gray Edmondson. “However, I also know there’s an issue with parents finding someone to watch their kids on the fall break.”
Superintendent Brian Harvey reminded the board that the Lafayette County School District is currently considering their school calendar with a proposed Aug. 3rd start date.
“We don’t have to do what they do but it’s another consideration because we do share the School of Applied Technology,” he said.
No motion was made for Option C. A motion was made for Option B but it died for a lack of a second. Another motion was made for Option A; however, after a few minutes of discussion, the vote was 3 to 1 to deny Option A.
Board member Romana Reed voted in favor of Option A.
“The calendar is put out several months before the new school and parents have time to make arrangements for childcare for breaks,” Reed said. “The teachers have told us they need the fall break to be more productive.”
Another motion was made for Option B by board member Marian Barksdale and was seconded by board member Scott Shipman. The vote was 2 to 2. Edmondson broke the tie and voted in favor of Option B.
Hill voted against Option B because it still included two days for students in October for the fall break.
“I appreciate the teachers needing a break but this is difficult for working families,” he said.
If the Lafayette School District approved the calendar with an Aug. 3 start date, the 75 Oxford students attending the School of Applied Technology would likely miss the first three days of school at the tech center.