Cameron residents filled the regular meeting of Marshall County's Board of Education on Tuesday night, and many say they're upset at the idea of a year-round school calendar.
Many of the speakers at the meeting told of problems with student achievement, as well as the disruption to a set routine for children. A number of attendees also felt the Board of Education had deceived them.
Alicia Johnson, a parent, told the board, "I thought, 'It's a two-year trial program, it's going to help my son's education, I'm all for it.' Well, now that I thought it was ending, and we're finding out that wasn't the case, that it is continuing, I'm not at all happy. If I would have known that, I wouldn't have voted for it."
Sitting before the assembled board, parent Kellie Wright talked about when the decision was made to put Cameron Elementary School and Cameron High School on a year-round calendar. Wright told the board, "At the time, everyone just went along with, because we thought, 'At the end of the two years, this would be over, or we would have a right to vote.' I myself are very disappointed that our school leaders stood and lied to us face-to-face."
But others say academic research in the educational field demonstrates students would perform better over time with a year-round school calendar. Linda Shaloway, speaking to 7News Digital Journalist Kurt Weinschenker, said, "The original calendar, with the very long summer, was for a time when people needed the children to help plant the crops, and harvest the crops. And that's not the case anymore."
Shaloway continued, "Yes, there are more frequent breaks, but the transition time -- the time required to bring those kids back -- is way less. And certainly the learning that they lose is way less with the shorter breaks than it is with a 10 to 12 week break."
Opponents presented the school board with a petition containing three hundred signatures, obtained in just four days. According to the principal of Cameron High School, who was at the meeting late Tuesday night, all approval motions of school calendars throughout the county have been tabled for further consideration by the board.