January 29, 2014WHITEFIELD — On a split vote — four "yes," two "no" and one abstention — the WMRSD school board decided at its Jan. 21 meeting to keep its traditional post-Labor-Day start this fall for District students.
Classes will begin for students on Tuesday, Sept. 2, although teachers will be expected to be on hand for professional development days during part of the previous week.
SAU Interim Superintendent Dr. Harry Fensom brought up the subject because the Littleton schools now traditionally open before Labor Day, affecting the Career and Technical Education classes at Littleton High School as well as its students who take classes at WMRHS.
CTE Director Lisa Perras explained that it would be smoother if both CTE centers were on the same schedule, aligning their first day of classes as well as mid-term and final exams.
School board member Jim Brady of Jefferson, who is one of the family members actively involved in Six Gun City-Fort Jefferson Fun Park, said, "It's not to our advantage in Coös County to start school before Labor Day; our local businesses are heavily involved in tourism business. If employers can't count on high school students to be available all summer, then they will hire more and more foreign students. This would mean that our students will not have either the hands-on experience of working or the opportunity to save money for college tuition."
"This is not a battle worth fighting over; its an inconvenience for the CTE programs, both for sending and receiving schools," Fensom said.
Mollie White of Carroll, Rep. Herb Richardson of Lancaster, Jessica Ryan of Whitefield, and Brady voted "yes" for the status quo; chairman Greg Odell of Dalton and Becky Matthews of Whitefield voted "no," and Peter Riviere of Lancaster abstained.