Hillsborough schools will not recognize any religious holidays
TAMPA - The Hillsborough school calendar will not recognize any religious holidays next school year, but it will continue a traditional day off for students to attend the state fair.
Ending two years of debate that resonated nationally in the culture wars, the Hillsborough School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to adopt a secular calendar for 2007-08.
It eliminates current days off coinciding with Good Friday, the Monday after Easter and the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
“I think this calendar tiptoes us into the 20th century, not the 21st,’’ said School Board member Candy Olson, capping nearly two hours of discussion on the academic calendar for the nation’s eighth-largest school district.
The calendar continues giving days off that recognize Hillsborough’s agricultural roots.
A majority reversed its plan to do away with Fair Day, a traditional school holiday for students in most of the country to attend the state fair. They agreed to keep the tradition for at least one more year, with fair officials pledging free admission to students on that day.
As in the past, students in east Hillsborough will exchange the Fair Day holiday for a day off to celebrate the Strawberry Festival.
“There’s some unintended consequences that we didn’t have information on,’’ said School Board member Carol Kurdell, who proposed keeping the status quo on Fair Day and Strawberry Festival Day.
LETITIA STEIN, Times Staff Writer