Majority rules. With copies of survey results in front of them, the members of the Cumberland County Board of Education didn't waste any time last week deciding which school calendar would finish off the year.

"I'll make this short and sweet," said Dan Schlafer, 9th District representative. "That's the calendar people want, and I move to adopt it."

The calendar Schlafer referred to eliminates a week-long spring break in March, allowing the school year to conclude on June 5, 2009. According to the calendar, the first semester will end on January 16, and no classes will be held April 10 in observance of Good Friday.

The calendar was one of three up for consideration during the Oct. 23 meeting. After the opening of school was delayed for two weeks, the board had to scrap the original calendar which had two spring breaks and an end date of May 29.

Exhibit number 1, as the calendar was called, received the most votes from a web survey conducted last month. More than 1,000 people participated in the survey, and 44 percent of them preferred it.

"We did poll our employees, and Exhibit 1 had the most votes from our employees also," said Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle.

Schlafer's motion to approve the calendar was supported by Bob Scarbrough, 5th District representative. It passed 7-2. Brian Houston, 1st District representative, was absent, and Jim Blalock, 8th District representative, voted against it.

"I have several people think we are taking too long off for Christmas, and to be honest with you, most of these are employees…They want to get out of school earlier…" commented Blalock, who also was concerned about hindering students planning on going to college.

He preferred the third calendar that was developed from comments received from the surveys. If approved, it would have taken one day off Thanksgiving break, two days off the first of winter break and the spring break set for March 16-20. The first semester would have ended January 3, 2009, with the last day of school on June 2, 2009.

"Well, option Exhibit 3 ... makes a little bit of difference by two or three days," VanWinkle said.

"I don't think we will have a problem," she added.

The second choice was the least favorite amongst those who took the surveys and received no mention from the board. It would have included all of the breaks as they were in the original 2008-'09 calendar and extended the school year until June 12, 2009.