School opening delayed in Grayson

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County Public Schools will open one week later than anticipated as completion of the turning lanes for the new Grayson Highlands School looms.
Division Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Thomas requested the delay at a special called meeting Monday night.
“The school board approved revisions of our 2010-11 school calendar,” Thomas told The Gazette on Tuesday, meaning that the opening of school all opening activities will be moved ahead seven days.

Teachers will now have their first work day on Aug. 10, convocation will be on Aug. 11 and the first day of school for students will be Aug. 16.
“Several factors contributed to this decision, to include the close timeframe to complete the turn lane/road project and the continued above-normal temperatures that would cause a hardship for our students and staff in un-air-conditioned classrooms,” Thomas said in an e-mail.
The turn lane project at Grayson Highlands is “progressing at a good pace,” she said, and the contractor expects the project to be complete on Aug. 9 — the original date for the first day of school.
“After meeting with the building inspector, our architect and our clerk of the works, we have decided that the timeline is too close for comfort,” Thomas said, adding that the unusually high temperatures also played a role in asking the school board to modify the schedule.
According to Thomas, three board members were present at the meeting Monday night — Chairwoman Misty Cassell, Vice Chairman Shannon Holdaway and Hobert Bailey.
Thomas said the vote was 2-1 to modify the calendar, with Holdaway voting against it based on concerns about younger children having difficulty attending a full week of school after the summer break.
Thomas said Holdaway preferred to have students begin school on a Thursday (Aug. 12) in order to provide a transition into the full school week. “Mr. Holdaway had a good point, but we needed the additional time to ensure a smooth opening of school.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony for Grayson Highlands will continue as scheduled on Aug. 3 at 3 p.m., with the school board, board of supervisors and other guests in attendance.
In other action on Monday, the board unanimously approved Jamey Hale as principal of Independence Middle School.
The principal position was vacated earlier this month when Judy Greear was appointed as the school division’s director of personnel and operations.
The former director of personnel — Chad Newman — resigned from the division in June to take a principal position in Wythe County.