March 21, 2022–10:23 a.m.
Last week, the Chattooga County Board of Education voted to adopt a four-day calendar for the 2022-2023 school year. The move was an about-face from four years ago when the local board of education was composed of different members who were swept into office following the ouster of several longtime board members in the 2018 election.
The county school system adopted a four-day calendar a decade ago as a cost-saving measure. At the time, the board was willing to give the idea a try. Former school superintendent Jimmy Lenderman was a supporter of the four-day week and the four-day calendar became the norm until the 2018 elections saw new board members elected who did not support the four-day calendar. The switch to the five-day calendar prompted the resignation of board member John Turner and Supt. Lenderman.
Since that time, the board appointed Eddie Elsberry to fill John Turner’s position. Elsberry was re-elected to that seat in 2020 and now serves as chairman of the board. Another board member who voted for the five-day calendar, Sammy Ballard, passed away. Lyn Hall, who is running for the seat this year, was appointed to fill that position. Then, board member Julia Houston – a vocal supporter of the five-day calendar – abruptly resigned last year and the board appointed Spencer Hogg to fill the open seat.
The only remaining board member who voted to go back to the five-day calendar is Brad Hayes, who is not running for reelection this year. A supporter of the five-day calendar, Hayes abstained from voting last week when the board voted 4-0 to adopt a four-day calendar.
The only board member who voted for the four-day week this year that is facing an election contest is Democrat Lynn Hall. He will face off against the winner of the GOP Primary in May between Lori Brady and Steve Groves. Board members B.J. Montgomery (R) and Eddie Eslberry (D) are in the middle of their terms, having been elected in 2020. The seat held by Brad Hayes will go to Tiffany Lawrence, who was the only person to qualify in either party. The seat currently held by Spencer Hogg will be decided in the May Republican Primary between Bonnie Fletcher and Terry Henderson.