Education

School year could start a week later in Fayette County next year

Students arrived for the first day of school at Cassidy Elementary School on Aug. 11, 2010. The Fayette County school board is considering starting school one week later next year.
Students arrived for the first day of school at Cassidy Elementary School on Aug. 11, 2010. The Fayette County school board is considering starting school one week later next year. palcala@herald-leader.com

Fayette County Public Schools would start the school year almost a week later in 2017-18 under a proposal presented to the school board Monday night.

The school year would begin Aug. 16 under the proposal, compared with Aug. 10 this year.

Pupil Personnel Director Steve Hill said the majority of the 30 school staff, including administrators, he surveyed recently were in favor of a later start date. Out of 22 people who responded, 63.5 percent were in favor of starting school in 2017-18 on Aug. 16.

A vote is expected at the school board’s Aug. 22 monthly meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the central office on East Main Street.

Board member Doug Barnett said he preferred a later start date. By starting school on Aug. 10, Barnett said, “It seems like summer didn’t last at all.”

On another matter related to the school calendar, Hill said he will study the question of when to return from holiday break this coming January. New Year’s Day is on Sunday, and Fayette County schools are currently scheduled to resume on Monday, Jan. 2.

Hill said he would look at attendance figures for the school district in past years when New Year’s Day fell on a weekend and the school district resumed classes the following Monday. It’s possible the calendar could be amended to take Monday off, he said. Christmas break is scheduled for Dec. 19 through Dec. 30.

Property tax increase

Also on Aug. 22, Fayette County Public Schools will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. at central office to hear comments regarding a proposed 1-cent property tax increase per $100 of assessed value for the 2016-17 school year.

The increase would grow district revenue by 4 percent.

The tax rate in fiscal year 2016 was 74 cents per $100 for real and personal property and produced revenue of $194.2 million. The proposed general tax rate of 75 cents on real and personal property is expected to produce $203.3 million.

The bulk of the extra revenue would be spent on instruction, according to the proposal.

Ticket prices for sports events

District Athletic Director Rob Sayre said Monday night that a proposal has been dropped to raise student admission at basketball and football games and some other athletic contests $1 while lowering adult admission that amount.

Board members decided against the proposal, which would have made both student and adult admissions $5 for football, basketball and a few other sports. District officials had initially said a single ticket price would allow for quicker entry into games, fewer accounting errors and less need to have change on hand.

But a proposal is still on the school board's agenda for Aug. 22 that would increase baseball and softball admission for adults and students by $1.

Admission for baseball and softball games is now $4 for adults and $2 for students. Under the proposed change, for baseball and softball games, admission would increase to $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The increase is needed because baseball and softball umpire fees have increased, as much as $1,000 in some cases, a board document said.

The proceeds of ticket sales from sporting events stay with the individual school.

New elementary school

In other action Monday, the school board voted to continue to negotiate with Centenary United Methodist Church for land near E.J. Hayes Middle School for a new elementary school.

District officials have said they were negotiating with the church for a 40-acre site on Athens-Boonesboro Road. That land is expected to cost more than $2 million.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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