Local News

Measure To Extend Summer Vacation For Schools Gaining Momentum

Posted May 12, 2004

— A legislative committee recently proposed an idea to cut the school year to make summer vacation longer. Now, that concept is gaining support in several groups.

When it comes to making summer vacation longer, it is no surprise how students feel.

"I think it's a great idea. It's the way it used to be and the way it should be," student Braxton Albritton said.

"I'd think it would be pretty awesome because everywhere else in the country gets to stay out until September, but we're always going back early August," student Jessi Rogers said.

Proponents of a bill to delay the start of school said it is not just students who want a longer break. They said it is the tourism industry, parents and even some teachers.

"Literally, in the last two to three weeks, hundreds of e-mails have come in to the General Assembly and phone calls and contacts to legislators saying we want this bill," said Rep. Connie Wilson, R-Mecklenburg.

Wilson's bill would now allow school to start before Aug. 25 or end after June 10. It would keep the classroom calendar at 180 days, but take away 10 of 20 teacher workdays.

The North Carolina Association of Educators opposed the plan in the past, but now it is softening its stance.

"We're not saying either way. We're still gathering information from our members and monitoring the legislation as it moves along," said Carolyn McKinney, NCAE president.

Even school administrators, who are standing firm against the measure, admit it is gaining momentum.

"I think it's picking up steam," said Jim Causby, president of the North Carolina Association of School Administration. "It means we're going to have to work awfully hard to beat it and we're going to make that effort."

One of the biggest groups pushing for the bill is the tourism industry. Officials estimate the state could gain $70 million in extra revenue by making summer vacation longer.

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