Local News

Cumberland Schools May Start in Early August

Posted October 20, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— There's a delicate balance for school systems across North Carolina. If classes start later in the year, breaks, snow days, and exam schedules get crunched. If classes begin sooner, the long summer vacation is eaten away for many. Monday night Cumberland County schools were scheduled to talk about breaking with tradition, and starting classes much earlier than usual.

The idea of starting school early was first mentioned last spring, and school leaders brought it up again just recently because of some changes in school schedules. The thinking is that by starting the school year earlier, students can get exams out of the way before the Christmas holiday.

School leaders and parents will soon decide whether to start the school year in early August, but the idea isn't without it's critics. Jacqueline Mardis is a school counselor and has a son and daughter in high school. She fears the early start would cause too much confusion in Fayetteville, especially since the majority of the students come from military families.

Student Crystal Cole says for the most part, she has no problem with the early start date.

The lack of air conditioning on buses is a consideration, but many students, such as Amanda Lewis, say putting up with the heat would be worth it in order to get semester exams over before Christmas.

Barbara Gearing is a parent who would like to see the new schedule go into effect.

In any case the school system will look to parents to decide whether their kids should get an early jump on the school year.

It is still very early in the planning phase. School leaders are drawing up surveys which each student will take home at the end of this month. Then the school board will look at those surveys and decide whether there's enough support to start school early.

If it is determined that there is, that could spark a change as early as next year, although 1999 is a more likely target.

Photographer:Mike Joyner