Sanford, N.C. — Lee County's school board is considering a proposal to convert all of its elementary and middle schools to a mandatory year-round schedule, beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
Last month, a Board of Education committee unanimously approved a proposal aimed at satisfying state laws that restrict start- and end-dates for public schools while meeting other needs such as staff development.
Right now, only one of the district's 16 schools, Tramway Elementary in Sanford, is on a year-round schedule. The proposal would change that for six other elementary and three middle schools.
A separate resolution also before the school board would also call on state lawmakers to allow the adjustment of school calendars for high schools to align schedules with local community colleges that provide programs to students.
A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at McLeod Auditorium at Lee County High School.
Year-round proponents say the calendar provides more flexibility to meet school demands and more time for staff development days.
George Raney, principal at Broadway Elementary School in Broadway, serves on the school board's calendar committee.
He cites solid test results at Tramway as another reason for implementing a mandatory year-round calendar.
But others say the schedule creates child-care challenges and disrupts summer plans.
Parents' opinions on the issue are mixed.
"If it's not broken, why change?" said Renee Hunter, who has two children who would be affected by the calendar change.
She prefers the traditional calendar and the long summer that comes with it.
"My advice to (school board members) is to listen to the parents and the ones most affected by this change," she said.
Karen Cameron, who also has children in the school system, says she has mixed feelings about mandatory year-round schools.
"We'd adjust to it," she said. "We'd get used to it, and most people who are in year-round here like it."