Give Our Kids A BREAK!

~To the Loudon County School Board and all parents of Loudon County Children~

Let me just start by saying something that we have all heard all our lives….Children are only little once, so let them be little while
they have a chance.
   Our children are required to attend school 175 days per year when they attend school 7 hours per day like they currently do in
Loudon County. They would only be required to go 180 days if they attended only 6 ˝ hours per day. The extra ˝ hour that they
attend each day gives them a full 5 days of school each year that they are not required to attend. Why do we want to try and make them go that extra week of school?
   Is it just because we are afraid of change? Surely not! We can all understand that times are changing quickly, either with or
without our approval. There is no reason to continue doing this just because that is the way it has always been done. We need to look
at all aspects of the situation and consider all options and reasons before we decide for sure. If we are going to make them go the
extra five days of school, then we need someone to present some excellent reasons how this will benefit our children and not just that
we are doing it because it has always been done that way.
   Is it just because that is the way Lenoir City schools are doing it, so we need to make sure we go the same schedule as them? I
seem to have gotten this idea from a few people at the last school board meeting. Maybe if the Lenoir City school system and parents
understood the benefits and reasons for shortening the school year, then they might agree with it, also. Shouldn't we all try to make a
decision that would be best for the entire county and work together?  Do we want to teach our children that the people in charge of the
school system can not work together? We all are supposed to want what is best for the children and for the entire county in every way.  Maybe we could give the children a little more summertime enjoyment and save Loudon County some money in the meantime.
   Some want to say that the reason for the earlier start date is because without those extra five days in the fall, then our teachers
and staff don't have enough time to prepare our children for the state tests that they are required to take before a certain date. Hmmmm…are we saying that in Loudon County we can not do something that Knox County and many other school systems already
do successfully? I seriously doubt that any of us Loudon County citizens would want to admit that. I have faith that our teachers and
staff are very qualified and will have no issues at all getting our students ready in time. If school systems all over can do it, then I know
Loudon County can do it.
   Five days may not sound like that much extra school to an adult, but try to think of it in the eyes of a child. Five days may seem
like forever to a child. Why not give them one more week of just plain summer fun before they have to think about school and
   Or think of it from the eyes of a single parent….one that has to let his/her kids visit the other parent (sometimes more than a single
day's drive away) for six weeks in the summer. Think about how much that one extra week might mean to them….just to be able to
spend time together that they lost during the summer or even to just have some time to shop for school clothes and supplies. Yes,
that one extra week of school may not seem that much to some, but to others it can mean more than you realize.
   Let us also think about the financial savings for Loudon County that five days can make. As we all know, times are hard right now
and budgets are tighter than most of us ever remember them being. These five extra days of school each year could cost Loudon
County an estimated additional $15,000 to $30,000 in utility and transportation costs. That figure may not seem to be much to some
people, but I know there are plenty of areas in our school budget that could use the extra money.
   I have revised the Knox County school calendar and will be presenting it to the School Board for consideration at the Workshop on
Thursday, February 26th. The calendar will include the required numbers of days, a later Start Date, an earlier End Date, and it STILL
includes a full week of Fall Break for everyone! The meeting will be at 6:30pm and is being held at the Loudon County Technology
Center, located at 4380 Harrison Road in Lenoir City. I encourage everyone to attend this meeting if you would like your opinion to be
   I am also gathering a survey to present to the School Board at the meeting. If you are not able to attend, and would still like your
opinion to count, please forward an email to the following address: You can go to my website at and view the different calendar options that are being proposed. In your email, please include your name, the
number of children attending, and which school they attend. I look forward to hearing from all of you and have great hope that we can
all come to a quick resolution in this matter that will benefit our children along with the school system of Loudon County.
Thank you,
Rachel Chatfield