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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough school calendar still secular



A committee of parents, teachers and administrators is looking at continuing a secular calendar for Hillsborough schools next year.

The calendar committee, charged with making recommendations to the superintendent, agreed Thursday to move forward with a calendar mirrored after this year's. As it would happen, the district gets a pass on hard decisions about classes on Good Friday. In 2008-09, the Christian holiday would fall during the week slated for spring break, along with Jewish observance of Passover. School officials noted that this was a coincidence. They continued this year's approach of scheduling spring break during the second week of April, and were not specifically recognizing the religious holidays.

If they sound a little touchy, consider that few need reminding of the explosive debate over religious holidays on the school calendar in recent years. The district adopted a student calendar that does not recognize religious holidays for the current school year, following two years of debate that fed into national culture wars.

Good Friday was barely an issue at the calendar committee meeting. Two parents from south Tampa schools were more concerned with securing a four-day weekend in February as a refresher for older students who wouldn't get spring break until mid-April.

The traditional days off school for students to attend the State Fair and Strawberry Festival would be continued. School administrators stressed the importance of allowing students in agricultural classes to participate in fair activities, and new financial incentives for students to attend that the fair officials agreed to after their holiday almost was eliminated in last year's go-round.

The committee will meet again in November to consider next year's calendar, which will not be set until a final vote of the School Board.

Should this year's calendar be replicated? Do tell.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:24am]


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