Expect the Board of Education to support bills providing additional calendar flexibility.
Numerous bill have been introduced that seek greater flexibility for school systems to set school calendars. Many are local bills that apply to specific counties. House Bill 137 provides this flexibility to all counties and districts in the state
Why are districts seeking flexibility? Current calendar law (pp. 6-7) sets firm parameters for the start and end of the school year for students. Students can start no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and finish no later than the Friday closest to June 11.
School districts are required to schedule ten teacher workdays, on two of which teachers may use accrued annual leave. Additionally, calendars must provide ten days of annual leave and honor all legal holidays as recognized and observed by the State Personnel Commission. (See WCPSS current practices for holidays here.)
The issue of desired calendar flexibility was made clear during discussion of the 2016-2017 instructional calendars at Tuesday’s Board of Education work session. The start and end dates referenced in school calendar law for the 2016-2017 school year are closer together than typical. With fewer days to work with between legal start and end dates, school district officials are limited in how they can use teacher workdays.
Additional flexibility for student start and end dates would allow the district to more freely use teacher workdays throughout the school year. One use is job embedded professional development. Those same workdays are also used to help makeup days lost to inclement weather.
WakeEd Partnership supports calendar flexibility. Such flexibility allows districts to best provide for their students and to set calendars that align with location and program specific student opportunities.