Education

Cobb County School Board Considers New Academic Year Start Date

The proposed Aug. 1 start date comes after a petition signed by more than 12,000 people opposing this year’s July 31 start.
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Audio version of this story here.

Cobb County’s school board considered a new start date to the school year at its meeting Monday.

The proposed Aug. 1 start date comes after a petition was signed by more than 12,000 people opposing this year’s July 31 start.

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Cobb County Schools’ superintendent, Chris Ragsdale, said choosing the right first day of school can be a complicated issue.

“I’ve received emails on all sides of the calendar, and there is not a single calendar option that is going to make everybody happy,” he said. “We just have to acknowledge that.”

The Cobb school board voted in 2013 to implement what’s known as a “balanced calendar.” It allows for more breaks throughout the year but an earlier start date.

Board member Scott Sweeney voted against the balanced calendar in 2013. Speaking at the meeting, he said he wondered if the start date made a difference.

“Is there any evidence that a calendar impacts attendance?” he said. “I asked the superintendent if the calendar impacts utilities. And I asked him if there was any academic benefit to one calendar over another.”

Sweeney said the answer to all of those questions was no.

Cobb’s school board will vote on the proposal on Oct. 26.