WILMINGTON, N.C. — Starting next year, summer vacation is officially extended for North Carolina students on a traditional school calendar.
Gov. Mike Easley signed House Bill 1464 in Wilmington and in New Bern. The school calendar bill extends summer vacation until late August by eliminating five teacher work days.
House Bill 1464 provides that public schools open no sooner than Aug. 25 and close no later than June 10 except in year-round schools, in schools in any local school district that have been closed eight days per year during any four years in the last decade because of severe weather, energy shortages, power failures or other emergency situations, or in certain schools with modified calendars.
"I believe at the end of the day this legislation will be a win for education, a win for travel and tourism and most importantly, a win for our school children," said Easley. "North Carolina is the sixth most visited state in the nation and this bill should help to bolster tourism, which is an important part of our economy. However, there can be no compromise on teacher quality, and there will be none. I will never waver from my commitment to ensure this state provides a superior educational system for all of our students."
Easley promises teachers will have better quality work days now.
"This bill has caused teachers, principals, administrators to focus more on professional development rather than the work days themselves," he said.
"Teachers have to do what they have to do. We always do. We always get the job done," teacher Albert Thombs said.
The North Carolina Association of Educators said they will make sure teachers will not suffer.
"We've proposed some wonderful professional development activities that deal with the days eliminated through the bill," said Eddie Davis, of the North Carolina Association of Educators.
Opponents of the bill previously said they will lobby lawmakers when they go back into session in January. They hope they can change minds before the start of the 2005 school year, when the bill would take effect.