School board candidates discuss year-round schooling

October 02, 1998|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Ten candidates seeking election to five open seats on the Washington County Board of Education discussed a number of issues at a Thursday night forum at the Ramada Inn.

The forum was sponsored by the Washington County Council of PTAs and the League of Women Voters

Candidates were asked several questions, including whether they believed students would benefit from year-round instruction.

The schools currently use a 180-day calendar, and classes are not in session during the summer months.

Following is a summary of the candidates' responses.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Mary L. Wilfong, a business woman and parent, said she supports analyzing and researching the idea of year-round classes, but is aware of instances in which it hasn't worked.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> W. Gordon Crabb, a strategic plan committee member, said he hesitates to give the idea his approval. "I would be careful to approve it. I have not seen enough evidence of this catching on to be the thing to do," he said.


HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Lenora Barnhart, a registered nurse, said the issue is complicated. She said shorter summer vacations would enhance learning, but might place a burden on families that rely on their children to help with harvesting.

In addition, she said parents might find it difficult to secure day care on a sporadic basis.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> J. Herbert Hardin, a former educator, said he "visited the topic years ago and it was not as feasible as it sounded."

He said that at that time, children were asked whether they would want to go to school all year, but most did not. "It showed a lack of interest," he said.

Hardin also said more personnel would be needed to accommodate such a schedule.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Doris J. Nipps, an incumbent, said the district would have to make sure every school is air-conditioned before she would consider the idea.

"I would also look at what the teachers do during the summer," she said. Many teachers take summer classes to earn credits to maintain their certification, she said.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Will R. Cunningham, a former teacher, said he thinks year-round schooling eventually will become a reality.

"It will take more money and re-educating people, but at present it's not feasible," he said.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Robert L. Kline, an incumbent, said that he would like to see classes held year-round, but this would have to be subsidized by the state and federal governments.

He said the plan would have to include a one-week break for students every quarter.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> David L. Resh Jr., a school volunteer and sports official, said he would keep an open mind about the concept. He said, however, he would not support such a plan "unless there was comprehensive cost-benefit analysis."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> B. Marie Byers, an incumbent, said she had been involved in a study of the issue. She did not indicate whether she supported all-year schooling.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Paul W. Bailey, a retired educator, said he would consider the concept and would need to evaluate whether it would provide the best education for children.

After November's election, the size of the school board will increase from five to seven members.

The top three vote-getters in the Nov. 3 general election will serve four-year terms, and the next two highest vote-getters will serve two-year terms.

Board members will make $4,800 a year and the president will make $4,900 a year.

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