Local News

Absences up on Wake school makeup day

Posted April 6, 2009
Updated April 7, 2009

Wake County Public School System

— Wake County school officials said that 18.5 percent of students were absent on Monday, which was a makeup day.

That contrasts to a 5 percent absentee rate Monday a week ago, said Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the school system.

Monday and Tuesday were originally scheduled to be part of spring break. They were changed to makeup days after snow forced schools to be closed Jan. 20 and March 2.

Principals will likely count unexcused absences against students, unless families can convince their school principal their trips have an educational component or medical or emergency reason. Teachers with vacation plans had to take a non-paid leave day or work out another arrangement with their principals.

When they announced the makeup days, administrators said that several factors limited when the days could be scheduled: It's expensive and cumbersome to bus students on Saturdays, the rest of teacher workdays are required by state law, and the Save Our Summers Law requires 180-year school year to end by June 10.

Wake schools have nine or 10 designated makeup days each year, and half are built into the first semester in the case of a hurricane.

The 2009-10 school year calendar – set by a committee of administrators, parents and teachers – also designates three days of spring break as possible make-up days.


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  • Killian Apr 7, 2009

    winonedog asked me: "Killian - will you run for school board? I don't think the school system understands math as good as we do."

    I appreciate the thought, but I don't live in Wake County, so I couldn't! =) But someone else who can do simple math definitely should. Maybe some -effective- change would occur instead of the constant, empty whining.

  • AppStateForever Apr 7, 2009

    As the daughter of a teacher, and a teacher myself, I know better than to schedule any vacation during Spring Break. The only reliable times to take a vacation at a traditional calendar school are Christmas holidays and the summer. People fought for "Save Our Summers", take your vacations then, rather than during Spring Break, which is not an absolute vacation time. Legislation has cornered the schools into quite a limited calendar, leaving little wiggle room in case of inclement weather. We have to work within a rigid framework imposed "by the people" and yet the people want to disregard that framework when it becomes a barrier to their leisure time. To those that think it's unfair to penalize a child with an unexcused absence for a Spring Break trip, the policy is the same for every day of the school year. Makeup days, no matter how useless some teachers make them, are no exception. Complain about the cuts that are cutting out our jobs and the money we can spend on your children.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Apr 7, 2009

    WRAL--you come interview me about what the school system really tells us to do...heads would roll!

  • winonedog Apr 7, 2009

    Killian - will you run for school board? I don't think the school system understands math as good as we do.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Apr 7, 2009

    Parents and the community would be outraged at the extent to which Wake County is willing to go to simply "graduate" these kids. As a teacher, I know how much we are told to accept work without regard to deadlines, pass students despite the number of absences they have, pass students with grades 60 or above, and only remove discipline problems from the classroom if they are a "serious" threat to the students (not a threat to educational learning). Wake County and the principals only care about graduation rates and stats on test scores, not actual learning. I fear that my students will one day be in charge of this country--High Schoolers that can't read, write, much less bother to come to class are passed along with no expectations or regard for what they have actually accomplished! It should be no surprise to anyone that teachers and principals are absent on these days too!

  • Killian Apr 7, 2009

    And yet, if the Powers That Be would lengthen the school day by a mere 10 minutes, this wouldn't be an issue. The law requires that students be in school for *either* 180 days or 1000 hours. Increasing a 180-day year by a mere ten minutes adds 30 extra hours, or, approximately 4 school days.

    This would absolve the school systems of having to deal with Saturday school, Spring Break interruptions, whining parents, and incensed teachers. Ten minutes. Five on either end of the school day.

    Oh, but that's right, what the heck do I know? I'm not a high powered, high salaried politician. I'm just a parent and an educator who has a CLUE.

  • gabi Apr 7, 2009

    missparrothead, they don't lengthen the school year because "Save Our Summers" and other groups have basically boxed the entire school system in -- School can't begin before Aug 25, can't end after Jun 10h, and the school system whines and moans that it's more expensive to run the buses on Saturday (it may have to do with paying bus drivers more on Saturdays, but that's the only reason I can think it MIGHT be a valid claim) while the parents moan "What about our weekends!! You're interrupting our Saturday plans!", so the school system is essentially hamstrung when it comes to having to make up days due to snow. We're actually a bit better set up for making up hurricane days (they're more common, so fall semester has a slightly better setup.) 2009/10 Wake Co. Schedule: Aug 25 to Jun 9. (I counted!) 365 days - 75 req. by law summer - 82 weekend - 10 holiday - 8 workday - 10 vacation = 180 days exactly remaining for kids to go to school: No room for make-up or fooling about.

  • SaltlifeLady Apr 7, 2009

    "It's expensive and cumbersome to bus students on Saturdays"
    wow! yet they do it for the year-round kids, and how many Saturdays have they been to school this year? Atleast 2, if not 3. Maybe the school system should look into adding days at the end of the year.

  • red355iroc Apr 7, 2009

    "the Save Our Summers Law requires 180-year school year to end by June 10."

    Wow!! a 180 year school year! What a bummer..

  • wcnc Apr 7, 2009

    Last I looked, parents are in charge of their children, not the schools. If I am a parent and scheduled (and paid for) a vacation for spring break and there are school make up days then, I'm thinking my children are coming with me and I'm not going to justify that to anyone. You'd think a principal would rather a child be with his parents on vacation than at school. Involved parents (even ones who vacation with their children) are a positive influence on children/students and I wouldn't want to discourage that.