CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County school board members delayed their vote on the 2012-2013 academic calendar because they extended public comments about the calendar to July 15.
Superintendent Ron Duerring said that by extending comments, it kept county administrators from packaging and delivering all the comments to school board members well before Thursday's meeting.
The board members are expected to vote on next year's calendar during a regular meeting next month.
Board member Becky Jordon has been the chief advocate for starting school about 10 days earlier in August, saying that "we're cheating our kids" if we don't.
She wanted students to finish their first semester before the Christmas break, and wrap up school early in May. She also believes that the instructional days following the WESTEST 2, a standardized exam in May, are too relaxed and students waste time winding down when they should be learning.
An earlier start date in August would cut back on those "wasted days," Jordon has said.
Duerring had proposed starting the 2012-2013 school year on Aug. 9. This year's school year begins for Kanawha students, except for those in year-round schools, on Aug. 19.
School board President Pete Thaw, however, has said that it's not right to put students in old buildings with shaky air conditioning during the early August heat.
Thaw has said that county maintenance workers will continue to repair or replace faulty air-conditioning units across the county, but they won't all be completed by next summer.
Parents and coaches also have raised other concerns about starting school in early August. The earlier start time conflicts with high school football practices, band camps and family vacations, some argue.
Dinah Adkins, president of the Kanawha County Education Association, agrees with Thaw and said the majority of KCEA teachers and many parents want the traditional calendar where students go back to school after the middle of August.
Going earlier in August would place an added drain on electricity, and students have summer jobs they'd have to quit early, she said.