School Board Approves New Calendar

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- Longer summers and a later start to the school year.

It's what many parents are asking for and on Wednesday night, there was a sign that it might be coming true.

The Knox County School board voted to move the first day of classes next year from August 6th to August 11th.

Many parents say this is a step in the right direction.

"I want my children to know the freedom of summer, of growing as a kid in the summertime and how awesome that is," said Gus Diamondidis, parents of a Knox County student.

Next year, county students will have five more days to play.

The school board unanimously approved that the 2008-2009 school year start on August 11th instead of August 6th.

To do so, the teacher in-service days from September and January will move to the beginning of the school year.

"I think it's just a much better effort for kids and their families," said Karen Carson, the school boards chairman.

Parents thought so too.

"We're very pleased with the decision," said Valerie Coleman, another parents of a county student. "It's such a great response, they've been listening to us."

But some parents aren't done talking.

They say this is a great first step, but they'd like to see children go back to class even later.

"Perhaps the 3rd week of August," suggested Cathy Van Meter, a parent. "At that point I think we'll see a great benefit for families like ours that would like to have more time together and be able to do things in the summer."

Parents will be able to give their input in an upcoming survey.

"We just feel as we look ahead to the future calendars it's a good opportunity to get input and see where our community stands," said Carson.

Parents say their stand will be strong.

"We just want them to understand that we are out there and that we do care about our children's schedules for school," said Coleman. "We now have their attention."

"Hopefully it'll be very clear and unbiased for parents to make a good decision," said Van Meter. "We look forward to seeing results."

They're not giving up until they see some.

"I'm going to be there for the long haul," Coleman said.

The school board will meet with The University of Tennessee on October 19th about developing the survey.

A few suggestions for a new calendar include, a year round calendar, another that starts after labor day, eliminates fall break and ends in the beginning of June and one that starts in August and keeps fall break.