By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
Hermitage School Board approved a 2014-15 school calendar Monday that means the 200-plus members of the Hickory High School Marching Band, Orchestra and Choir and their teacher advisers and chaperones will miss only one day of class while visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
The trip is set for March 27 through April 1, 2015, with March 27, a Friday, the only day of missed instruction.
The district will take spring break March 30 through April 3, 2015. Three of those days are penned in as snow days, if needed, however.
The calendar sets Aug. 25 as the first day of school and June 5, 2015, for the last day and graduation.
Administrators presented three options to the board. Superintendent Dr. Daniel Bell said the administration preferred a Sept. 2 start date, but few teachers liked it.
Most teachers favored the option approved by the board, and it is similar to the calendar used this year.
“They like this year’s, the way it is,” said teachers union President Nicole Porter.
The third option proposed starting school on Aug. 21.
Bell said he had no hard feelings over whatever the board chose, noting all three calendars gave the same number of instruction days prior to the April 15, 2015, beginning of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests, and had the same graduation date.
The approved calendar gives students two, four-day school weeks to open the year; four days off over Thanksgiving; two full weeks off for Christmas break; and no school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Memorial Day.
Teachers would work 186 days.
School board member Robert McGowan said he did not like the school board setting the calendar. Administrators and teachers should set it based on what’s best for students, he said.