St. John school calendar approved

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 20, 2009

By David Vitrano

RESERVE—At its last meeting, the St. John School Board approved the proposed calendar for the 2009-2010 school year, but the approval came with a certain amount of debate.

The calendar has students returning to school on Aug. 6. This is the earliest date ever set for the first day of school in the parish.

Board Member Russ Wise questioned the move, saying eventually school will end at the end of May and start at the beginning of June. He also wondered why it would be necessary to send children to school during the hottest part of the year thereby increasing air conditioning-related energy costs.

Wise was also concerned about the omission of graduation dates from the calendar and suggested it be amended to include them.

Another point of contention had to do with a teacher inservice day scheduled for Jan. 4. Superintendent Courtney Millet estimated the cost of the additional day at about $350,000, which will come out of federal stimulus funds awarded to the district. Board Vice President Patrick Sanders questioned the wisdom of removing the district’s French program to save $150,000 but then increasing costs with the inservice day.

Despite these matters, the calendar ultimately was approved by a vote of 8-3. Sanders, Wise and Albert Burl cast the dissenting votes.

Although approved, the calendar may not yet be finalized. “There’s always a chance to amend the school calendar,” said Board President Gerald Keller.

The next meeting of the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School on Highway 44 in LaPlace following a 5 p.m. ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony at the new facility.