After numerous proposals, Rock Hill school district students, parents, teachers and staff know the official start date for the 2011-2012 school year: Monday, Aug. 15.
At Monday night's school board meeting, members reviewed two new calendar proposals from district staff, unanimously passing the second.
The new calendar accounts for three inclement weather days on May 18, May 25 and June 1. If the makeup days aren't needed, they will be holidays instead.
If more than three makeup days are necessary, any holiday can be used at the district's discretion.
The aim of creating a school calendar is perfection, but that remains to be seen.
"Calendars are not easy because you have to take into account end-of-course tests, you have your exam schedules, your testing dates that you have to avoid and a number of things," said district spokeswoman Elaine Baker.
The new calendar designates five furlough days for teachers and staff.
"By no means does this mean that there will be five furlough days for teachers or anyone else," Baker said. "I just had to place five furlough days."
School board member Jim Vining led the motion to approve the calendar but called for two changes. The first, that a holiday designated on March 30 be moved to the end of the year, making May 30 the last day. The second change has students returning from the Christmas holidays Jan. 9 rather than Jan. 6.
The calendar better suited school board member Walter Brown, who had been concerned about the placement of makeup days.
"I do not care for any calendar that says makeup days will come at the end of the school year," he said, referring to past calendar proposals that called for makeup days in June. "It's nothing but seat time, and we're just satisfying a state mandate. If we're going to have makeup days, we need to have them during the school year when instruction is going on."
Of the two calendar proposals Baker presented Monday, Brown and board chairman Bob Norwood instantly scrapped the first, which placed the inclement weather makeup days from June 1 to 3.
Norwood said such placement would be like "flushing three days of school."
Several board members expressed relief that a calendar decision had finally been made, but member Mildred Douglas said the board will have to be amenable to changes that might arise due to inclement weather, adding that the district had been "surprised" by all of the snow this year.
"We've been hassling with this for almost longer than the budget," she said.
"It's not going to be perfect. We have to be prepared to monitor and adjust."