Wake County Schools

Emails show Wake school board's flip-flop on make-up days

Posted June 19, 2015

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— Emails exchanged between the Wake County superintendent and members of the school board offer a glimpse into the last-minute change to use days allotted for spring break to make up time lost to last winter's snow.

By early March, the Wake County Public School System had logged eight snow days and leaders were scrambling to make up the educational time.

On March 3, they announced a plan to make up two of the days on Saturdays, declaring on Twitter, "Spring Break is safe!"

The backlash was immediate, with parents blasting the school system for impinging on weekend plans and worried that students, required to attend class six days in a week, would be tired and not retain what they learned.

The emails show that within hours of the March 3 announcement, School Board Chair Christine Kushner asked for more explanation and detail and that Superintendent James Merrill had changed his mind.

Four days later, the board did an about-face, releasing a plan to use the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of spring break – just two weeks hence – as make-up days.

Parents responded with a petition that gained thousands of signatures, balking at the choice between sacrificing spring break deposits and having students miss a legitimate school day.

Emails show the board considered a variety of factors – from testing to college graduations to the benefit of three consecutive classroom days – in reversing course and making up the days during spring break.

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  • Pam Snyder Jun 20, 2015
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    You know this years winter was the worst I can remember since I moved down 20 years ago. I was one of the parents highly upset about the traditional calender children going Good Friday and Saturday morning's. I was on the news even. Now school is over and I wouldn't have changed my mind no matter what. There were so many absences on the spring break "make up days" that both my children said they did nothing on Monday. The staff....yes staff....(substitutes mainly) but also the few good teachers who were able to.....said there weren't enough children to TEACH anything. Too many classmates were missing. Some of the high school teachers told their students not to come!! Why all the hubbub over the days ... when most parents kept them home anyway? So much for instructional hours!! We had planned to go back to Pennsylvania to see a great grandma who wasn't doing well. Guess what we went.....and the absences??? Well they were automatically called educational opportunities..out of school.