Monthly Archives: December 2014

Input on 2015-2016 School Calendar

DeKalb Schools has been trying to nail down the 2015-2016 School Calendar for the last few months. We can make it official at the Jan 12, 2015 board meeting. Let me know if you have any feedback regarding the calendar below.

Calendar   2014-2015  2015-2016 
 Pre-planning    Aug 4-8, 2014 Aug 3-7, 2015  
First day of school  Aug 11, 2014    Aug 10, 2015  
Labor Day    Sept 1, 2014    Sept 7, 20 IS  
Professional Development Day    Oct 13, 2014    Oct 9, 2015  
Columbus Day    Oct 132014 (Observed as Professional Development Day)    Oct 12, 2015 (Observed as
Thanksgiving break    Nov 24-28, 2014    Nov 23-27,2015  
Last day of Ist semester    Dec 19, 2014   Dec 18, 2015  
December winter break    Dec 22, 2014
Jan 22015  
 Dec 21 , 2015
Jan 1, 2016  
Post planning 1 st semester/
Pre-planning 2nd semester 
Jan 5, 2015 (Teacher Workday)  Jan 4, 2016 (Teacher Workday) 
First day of 2nd semester    Jan 6, 2015   Jan 5, 2016  
MLK Day    Jan 19, 2015    Jan 18, 2016  
February Break    NA    Feb 12, 2016  
President’s Day    February 16, 2015    Feb 15, 2016  
Professional Learning Day    NA    March 11,2016  
Inclement Weather Day  NA April 1, 2016
Spring Break  April 6-10, 2015  April 4-8, 2016
Last day of school    May 22, 2015 May 26, 2016
Post planning Day  May 26-27, 2015    May 27, 2016
Days 1st semester   88 87
Days 2nd Semester 92 93
of school days   180 180

Survey Question: I would like to start the school year on Aug 3, 2015 to incorporate a fall break (one week/five consecutive days).
Results: Roughly 3,200 parents responded and 2,500 school employees (and a handful of students). 56% of the parents were against a fall break. 73% of the employees were for a fall break.
No fall breaks in our near future.

Georgia’s Ethics in Government

In light of the recent Superintendent Report on the Druid Hills Annexation, it is important that DeKalb County School District employees and board members know and comply with the provisions of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Act (O.C.G.A Section 21-5-1). The Act allows certain activities, but prohibits others, to influence voter approval or rejection of a constitutional amendment, legislation, or referendum such as educational SPLOST or city annexation. This post is adapted from a variety of documents, including materials from the Georgia School Boards Association, the Georgia PTA, and Gwinnett Schools.
The DeKalb County School District, its employees and board members may provide the public only with objective, factual information. The school district may educate voters about a referendum, but it may not contribute to a campaign committee that is promoting or opposing the issue or attempting to influence voters to vote a certain way. Informational materials developed by the school system must not be perceived as campaign material or be promotional in nature.
No  public funds or resources can be used to promote or oppose voter approved issues. Public  resources include, but are not limited to, school system/local school email, websites, newsletters,  facilities, copy machines, paper, phones, audiovisual equipment, computers, vehicles, and employee time during work hours or in a capacity as an employee after work hours.
Employees may work to promote or oppose voter issues only as private citizens on their own time. Employees have the same civic responsibilities and privileges as any other citizen including the privilege of campaigning for and actively supporting causes in the political arena. An employee’s political activities must not interfere or conflict with an employee’s job.
Permitted Activities
School board members and superintendents may, on their own time and with their own resources, influence the passage of a referendum. They may appear at public events and speak on behalf of the issue. They should be careful to emphasize, however, that they are not speaking on behalf of the board or in their official capacity.
School administrators may speak at parent-teacher organization meetings as long as the meeting is not held during the school day and attendance is voluntary.
School administrators, teachers, and other employees, as individuals, may endorse and contribute to the campaign. However, any written or oral endorsement should contain a disclaimer that it is not being made in the person’s capacity as a school official or employee.
School districts can provide the public and the media with factual, objective information about a referendum. Such material must not be biased or handled in a way that could be perceived by the public as campaign material.
Prohibited Activities
School administrators and other employees may not spend time during the school day on activities influencing a referendum. During working hours, they should not appear at public events to speak on behalf of the campaign, solicit campaign contributions, or distribute campaign literature.
Schools should not send home with students any materials in support or opposing a referendum. School newspapers, newsletters, and other educational literature should not contain advertisements, columns, or editorials by staff members that promote or oppose passage of an issue. School mailing labels may not be used to mail campaign materials.
School districts, school boards, and schools may not spend public funds on advertising (print or electronic) intended to influence voters.
School administrators must be careful that their actions toward teachers do not appear coercive. While they can remind staff of the date for voting and provide information about the referendum, they should not seek to influence those they supervise to vote a certain way. Administrators should make clear that employees will not suffer adverse consequences if they choose not to support or contribute to the referendum or do not vote.