Wake school board approves early-dismissal Fridays

Posted May 18, 2010 4:55 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2010 12:05 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County Board of Education voted Tuesday in favor of a plan to dismiss students early on Fridays so that schools can provide professional planning and development time for teachers.

The plan calls for students to be dismissed 2.5 hours earlier for eight days for year-round schools and six for traditional-calendar and modified-calendar schools.

It is subject to change if closings or late openings for weather cut into the required 1,000 hours and 180 days of instruction.

Schools currently dismiss an hour early every Wednesday – as well as several other times in the year 2.5 hours earlier – for the same purpose, but the school board in December voted 5-4 to end the practice.

Those voting against it said they supported the professional development time but wanted to find a better way to accommodate teachers without affecting family schedules.

Tuesday's vote was 6-2 with board members Keith Sutton and Kevin Hill voting against.

Hill, a former teacher and principal, said during the board's work session earlier Tuesday that having early-release days on Wednesdays would remove the imposition on teachers to stay late for planning work on a Friday because meetings can last past the end of the official school day.

The board also approved a number of other items on its agenda, including a 7-1 vote to undo a 2008 decision that would have ended the International Baccalaureate program at Broughton High School after the 2012-13 school year. The change will cost about $180,000 a year after spending had been planned to end.

Hill voted against the proposal, saying he felt it would effectively undermine magnet programs at other schools.

The board also voted 8-0 for a public participation policy that allows the board to designate one spokesperson for people who all hold a similar position.