Groups fight to keep summer vacations long

Posted July 26, 2011
Updated August 4, 2011

— A North Carolina judge ruled Tuesday that a small school district in the western part of the state can start classes next week, despite challenges from a group that says shorter summers are bad for families.

The state Board of Education waived a law that requires a 10-week summer vacation for students in the state’s traditional-calendar schools so that Macon County schools can institute measures to improve student achievement. 

State Administrative Law Judge Joe Webster upheld that waiver Tuesday, refusing to grant a preliminary injunction to a group that’s challenging it.

The school system says the Aug. 4 start will allow them to run much-needed remediation programs in reading, for example.

Most schools around the state don’t resume classes until Aug. 25.

The group Save Our Summers argues that allowing an exception for one school district may cause a negative ripple effect across the state, even trickling down to the North Carolina coast, where business owners rely on summer tourism.

“All of our business comes from families from North Carolina and across the nation coming down here on vacation,” said Jesse Croteau, who works on Emerald Isle.

Pro-tourism group fights to keep summer vacations long Pro-tourism group fights to keep summer vacations long

The tourism industry and groups like Save Our Summers urged lawmakers in 2004 to establish a statewide, standard school calendar that ensured a 10-week summer vacation.

Ronnie Watson, who owns an oceanfront campground in Emerald Isle, was part of that campaign.

“It’s very important for the tourism industry that we keep this school calendar bill intact,” he said.

He said he’s concerned that, in addition to the exception made in Macon County, legislators have also added 10 extra classroom days to the school calendar.

“Every little bit helps, and tourism is vital,” he said.

Croteau agreed.

“Shortening our season would kill our business,” he said.

Watson said that over the course of his numerous conversations with lawmakers, he’s confident the law will remain intact – for now.

Schools in Ashe, Avery and Madison counties are also resuming classes early in anticipation of losing school days to heavy snowfall as has happened in many northwest mountain communities in recent years.


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  • newlifetupper Jul 28, 2011

    as a substitute teacher in a school system, this is just crazy. if we would teach the kids while they are THERE we would not have to be doing all this extra time. where is the common sense the good Lord gave us???!!! we are using extra monies to transport the kids, paying teachers to be there to teach them-feed them-cool the building to a point they can breathe-no wonder we are running out of money in our state and nation. i was in a classroom of 24 students---there were 5--count them-5 adults in that room with those 24 students. it was totally unnecessay! i was wondering why they were paying me to be there!!!! we need to regain a common sense approach to all things and get BACK to displaying a little common sense in what we do!!!!! confusedinnc

  • chfdcpt Jul 27, 2011

    Wasn't this the same group that was more concerned with a longer summer vacation so that they could have high school part time help?

    Look for some background on SOS

  • sunshine1040 Jul 27, 2011

    Cut out all the half days and teacher workdays and the kids might actually learn jst as much and still have the summer breaks. and save transportaion cost for students parents and teachers

  • OGE Jul 27, 2011

    Folks without kids, LOVE the idea of school starting earlier. More peace at the beach! The last thing I want to see are two fat parents and a gaggle of screaming, obnoxious brats running amok on the shore. Make School year round!

    I prefer not to see some wrinkly old geezer wearing a bathing suit. Put anyone over 70 in a home!

  • bikely Jul 27, 2011

    They ought to be ashamed and embarrassed to even say this out loud. Yeah, in today's global economy and with the level of debt carried by the average American, that's what we need- more VACATION!
    I bet the Chinese are laughing at us right now....

  • bcnc Jul 27, 2011

    Year-round school is still only 180 days. The same number of days as traditional calendars. It's like a pizza, 8 slices or 10 slices; it's still the same size pizza.

  • bcnc Jul 27, 2011

    OK here is the deal!!
    What calendar works best for the mountains may not be the same best for the coast. The state needs to stay out of local decisions. Set a state hours or days requirement and let locals work from there. If locals don't like start/end dates chosen by their local boards, then vote them out. You elect local boards to make decisions for you, so let THEM do their job.

  • jnc67 Jul 27, 2011

    Unbelievable. Vote them all out. Every single one of them.

  • lizard78 Jul 27, 2011

    Saberage: Awesome! I agree.

  • Dave Green Jul 27, 2011

    Ducks in a row. Priority: Education; Secondary: commerce