School calendar flexibility is good as long as it isn't abused

Mar 11, 2013

With so many state and federal rules and regulations governing our local systems, having local control when possible is always a positive step.

We’re glad Rep. Michele Presnell introduced a bill to allow Haywood County more flexibility with scheduling. The local school system should have control over the school calendar to be flexible for exam schedules and winter make-up days. As Bill Nolte, associate superintendent for Haywood County, said, no one knows the needs of Haywood County Schools better than Haywood County officials.

With power comes great responsibility, and we hope if the bill passes that the power will not be abused. Possible abuses could include using the new flexibility to start the school year in the first of August, which would take away extra summer days from students and faculty.

Save Our Summers North Carolina, a volunteer coalition of parents, grandparents, education professionals and others who seek to maintain the traditional school calendar, is trying to make the public aware of how school systems have abused state waivers granted for school calendar changes in the past.

Haywood County has already set the 2013-2014 school calendar, which includes 180 days. School officials have said they have no intentions of trying to spread the school year out over a longer period of time, and we have no reason at this point not to trust their word.

Their word is all we’ll have to go on because the legislation language completely exempts the school system from the current law stating that schools cannot start any earlier than Aug. 26. We encourage the school system to continue to have an open dialogue with teachers, parents and students when making calendar decisions. This will enable the school system to hear and respond to legitimate concerns and plan accordingly.