Polk County schools to remain open during September event

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2018

SALUDA — The Polk County School Board has adopted the 2018–2019 school year calendar, which does not include any time off for the World Equestrian Games.

The board met for their regular meeting at Saluda Elementary School Monday.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene said that, though many had urged the district to take time off during the September event, the calendar did not have that flexibility.

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“There’s a lot of pressure for Polk County schools to be off during WEG,” said Chairman Geoffrey Tennant. “I say, over my dead body. It’s not a sound teaching calendar.”

Greene explained the consideration of time off for the games would stem from a year-round calendar.

“There’s a lot of support, but also a lot of people against a year-round calendar,” he said. “We would need a lot of time and community input to make that happen. It wouldn’t happen this year.”

According to Greene, one way to do a year-round calendar would be to have a month off in the summer.

Greene added that there was also some concern for a few schools about traffic during the WEG event.

“We’ll have to talk about traffic issues for people who live in that area,” said Greene, who explained there may be some problems for Polk Central Elementary.

Greene said they would talk to Polk fire and rescue about possible staging parking and pick up areas for the students who might be affected by the traffic. He added that many schools have people wanting to be out of town during those two weeks.

The calendar contains 180 teaching days. Spring break is scheduled near Easter. There are eight mandatory teacher workdays and six optional teacher workdays.

Feb. 18 is listed as an optional teacher workday, which can be used as a snow day. The calendar includes 10 annual leave days, 11 regular holidays and two half day or early dismissal days.