Two Chattooga Co. School officials resign following debate over 5-day school week
Two Chattooga School Officials have submitted letters of resignation following a continued back and forth over a change in the school schedule from a four-day week to a five-day school week.
"I think we have a great thing going and I think we have a board who is destroying it," the former Superintendent of Schools Jim Lenderman told Channel 3.
Lenderman, who has been with the district since 2008, resigned on Friday afternoon.
"I wanted this to be a school system where kids want to go to our schools, where teachers want to teach and where parents are proud to say our kids go to that school," he explained.
This was less than 24 hours after longtime school board member John Turner resigned, abruptly leaving Thursday night's board meeting.
"I can see no need for me being on this board so I will tenure my resignation come Monday."
Both say they're tired of trying to convince school board members to take the school system back to a four- day.
"The board members won't listen to our people. It's a caustic environment between our board and our parents," Lenderman said.
Lenderman says moving to a four-day school week was initially an effort to save money. They later saw a great impact on students performance from test scores to graduation rates.
"We could not pay our bills. But as we did that we saw so many more benefits," he said.
Lenderman claims the decision to change the school schedule to five days was made without any supporting research.
"They're going to cause us to be broke in two years if they do not change the way they're doing things," he warned.
Lenderman projects the school system's deficit will jump from $1.2 million to $2.1 million by adding a day to the school week.
That's unless major cuts are made.
Channel 3 reached out to board of education members Sam Ballard, Julia Houston and Brad Hayes for comment but only heard back from Hayes.
Here's the full statement he sent to Channel 3:
"I qualified to run for the Chattooga County School Board of Education in March 2018. Not long after qualifying, I realized one hot topic among the residents of Chattooga County was the 4-day vs. 5-day calendar. The topic continued to grow as the May 22nd Primary Election approached. I ran unopposed on the May 22 ballot, and received over 1,000 votes. At that point, I began an extensive research on the pros and cons to both a 4-day and/or a 5-day. My biggest concern was what would be best for the district, students, parents, and the community. Ultimately, six to 10 months was spent on researching the pros and cons of both calendar possibilities."
The next school board meeting is scheduled for March 21.
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