Local Politics

House OKs extending school calendar

Posted May 12, 2009

— The House on Tuesday approved legislation that would let North Carolina school districts add makeup days to the end of the school year.

House Bill 636 would allow districts to tack on up to three days of instruction to make up for days lost because of bad weather or emergency conditions. If more makeup days were needed, districts could use up to two teacher workdays, according to the bill.

Education Bill tacks makeup days onto end of school year

A 2004 law requires most public schools to begin no earlier than Aug. 25 and end by June 10.

"Local schools obviously know what's best for students, not one size fits the entire state," said Rep. Marvin Lucas, D-Cumberland, a co-sponsor of the bill. "Before, they had to use Saturdays (as makeup days), and what they were finding is that 50 percent of the students were attending school on a Saturday, which is, in essence, a wasted school day."

Wake County schools were forced to schedule two makeup days during spring break this year because of late-winter storms. A large number of students didn't attend during those days.

"A lot of people already made plans to go places, and that was messing up their whole vacation," said Gabrielle Hernon, a freshman at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

Still, Hernon and her friend, Javonus Freeman, said extending the school year for makeup days would be worse than missing part of spring break.

"I'm ready for school to be over," Freeman said. "Everyone is ready to get out of school."

Lucas' bill is the second bill affecting school calendars that is making its way through the General Assembly.

On Monday, a House committee approved House Bill 593, which would allow public schools to open as early as Aug. 8 instead of Aug. 25.

Education groups said earlier start dates would let students take exams before the Christmas vacation and could help with scheduling makeup days.

The tourism industry has been fighting the change because it would cut into traditional summer vacations.


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  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 13, 2009

    "let kids have there summer! don't take there summer away, they've been in school for 180 days, they need some time off! don't put them back in school on august 8th! let them have there vacation!!! -closetohome61"

    They still get it and two weeks earlier to boot! :)

  • closetohome61 May 13, 2009

    let kids have there summer! don't take there summer away, they've been in school for 180 days, they need some time off! don't put them back in school on august 8th! let them have there vacation!!!

  • shep8851 May 13, 2009

    As a teacher for the past 23 years, I can say that any influence this might have on students is purely accidental. What we have here is an attempt by local school boards to take back some of their "power'. When the legislature imposed the later starting date, local boards lost some of their power/control- now they want it back, and this bill will do just that. But, its going to take one heck of a lot more than simply changing the starting date to fix what is wrong with our education system.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 13, 2009

    I don't mind the time frame change. But tacking school days onto the end of the year is going to have a large effect on time spent preparing for EOGs as well as parents and teachers who start jobs or are moving elsewhere at the end of the year.

  • time4real May 13, 2009

    waste of time. 1/2 the schools are year round and this won't affect them one bit!

  • pirate May 13, 2009

    I guess what bothers me about this (as a parent and as a teacher)is that for some reason the tourist industry and its revenue has priority over what is in the best interest of students.

  • NCTeacher May 12, 2009


    I'm guessing they didn't change the end date because of schools that will choose not to open in early August. Some school systems will choose to start later so they will need a later end date. They have to get in their 180 days of school so if they write the law so that all schools must be out by May 25th, they have no choice but to start all at the same time.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 12, 2009

    Why is the state government sticking their noses into the business of the counties? This is the school board's job. If you don't like it, change the school board through the democratic process. Sounds like the tourist industry had some chips to cash in. Large governments (state and federal) have a difficult time micromanaging, which is why this should be done locally.

  • Rolling Along May 12, 2009

    Whatever happened to in after Labor Day and out by Memorial Day. We did that and none of us seem to have suffered for it.

  • Sir Freezy McQuackers May 12, 2009

    This is dumb. If they want to do this, they should make the ending date earlier, too.