County school officials are already tiring of the controversy surrounding Kanawha County's 2014-15 school calendar -- and it isn't anywhere near over.
At its regular meeting Thursday, the school board was presented with a slate of options for the new school calendar. There were two main options: one included a mid-August start date, the other incorporated a controversial early August start date similar to the one used this school year.
The school board voted last year to approve a calendar that looked drastically different than those from years past -- school started Aug. 9, the earliest start date in the county's history.
The idea was to wrap up the first semester just before winter break, preventing students from having to cram for semester exams over the holiday vacation. The idea met with mixed reaction among school board members and no small amount of controversy among students and parents who preferred the usual calendar option.
A survey of county faculty Monday, taken to gauge the faculty's preferences for the calendar, only prompted more controversy. Before they voted in a Monday faculty senate meeting, staff was told that if the mid-August start date is approved, the logistics for distributing monthly paychecks would be skewed so that employees won't get paid in the month of September.
Dinah Adkins, president of the Kanawha County branch of the West Virginia Education Association, said this amounts to repressing the faculty's vote.
"Many called me and said, I don't want the early start but I can't go a month without a paycheck," she said. "Now the process has no integrity .<!p>.<!p>. What you have now is not a vote on the school calendar that is best for students and employees you have a vote for when teachers want to be paid."
Duerring characterized the move as "full disclosure," saying it was only fair to let faculty and staff know the particulars of the payroll situation up front.
"That wasn't backing anyone into a corner," he said.