Second school calendar public hearing is on Tuesday, May 1

by Kate Evan
The Morgan County School Board will hold its second public hearing on the 2018-2019 school calendar during its Tuesday, May 1 meeting to provide information on the calendar and to hear public comment.  The meeting will take place at the school board office at 7 p.m.
The school board will approve the 2018-2019 school calendar during the meeting after the second public hearing.  The May 1 meeting also includes their budget work session.
Three possible calendars
School Treasurer Ann Bell said at the first public hearing on April 17 that the school calendar committee developed three possible calendars for the 2018-2019 school year for the school board to review.  All three calendars are very similar and only vary in the length of Thanksgiving break and the length of spring break.  Each has the same start date of August 15 for staff and August 20 for students.
Bell said that the first calendar option is the traditional calendar with the entire week off at Thanksgiving and spring break.
The second calendar option aligns more closely with Berkeley County (for James Rumsey students) and has a shortened Thanksgiving break with schools closed on Wednesday, Thursday for the holiday and Friday that week.  It also has a full spring break.
The third calendar option also has the shortened Thanksgiving break and builds two OS days into spring break (Monday and Tuesday) which increases the probability that those two days of spring break would be used to make up for snow days, Bell said.
Shorter Thanksgiving break?
One school and the bus garage favored the traditional school calendar as of the April 17 meeting, but they’d had some public comments on their website that preferred the third calendar option, saying that kids needed the shortened breaks, she noted.
Morgan County teacher Scott Lynch recalled that the shortened Thanksgiving break was tried a few years ago and a lot of kids and teachers were absent for opening day of hunting season and the following day.
School board member John Rowland remembered the county tried the shortened Thanksgiving break when he was a high school senior and he didn’t go to school that Monday and Tuesday.  School board president David Ambrose said it was tried when he was a teacher and he’s a hunter.  He didn’t want to say what he did.
Calendars are on website
The three draft versions of the school calendar can be viewed on the Morgan County Schools website, where the public can also post comments about the calendar options.
The public can also comment on the school calendar in writing by sending an e-mail to executive secretary Betsy Buser at, by mailing their comments to the Morgan County Board of Education at   247 Harrison Avenue, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. 25411 or by dropping off their comments at the school board office.