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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It could be a short summer for high school students in Pender County. Starting classes the first week of August is one option under a proposed school calendar waiver. The reason: the school district wants to implement the Career and College Promise program.

The Pender County School District is looking for a way to allow its students to enroll in college courses while attending high school.

“If you’re going to high school, your high school ends two weeks into January. Well the college starts January 1, so it would be impossible for any child to take a spring course,” school board member Karen Gonazales said. “If we ended our semester in december, then they can take courses along with the college.”

That would require high schools to start August 6, which is three weeks before the middle and elementary schools. The NC Board of Education gave the school district the OK to align its calendar with Cape Fear Community College’s.

The school board is holding public meetings at each of the county’s three high schools to get feedback from parents and the community. Some folks, though, already say they are against changing the calendar.

Surf City Mayor Zander Guy says his town fought for a state law that schools could not start earlier than August 25. He says businesses would lose their high school employees and families would miss out on a few weeks of summer.

“Toursim is one of the leading industries as far as producing income for the economy, and we need to take that into consideration when putting these school calendars together,” Guy said.

School board members say they are looking at all the options, but they need feedback.

“They cannot stay home and then all of a sudden, the day we pass it, say, ‘Well, I don’t like it,’ if they didn’t come to the meeting and express their views,” Gonzales said.

The first of the school district’s public hearings starts at 6 p.m. at Heide Trask High School in Rocky Point. Click here for information on the other two meetings.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest1122334455

    I think that the schools should start earlier.Not only would this align with the college, but this would also put the high schools giving their EOC’s/final exams before Christmas. Also from a coaching perspective, fall sports start August 1st anyways, so if the students are back in school then some that otherwise wouldn’t have transportation and able to participate, may now be able to. Some programs have a hard time getting going because their athletes do not have a means of transportation other than the bus, so they are 3 weeks behind other schools.

  • Wilmington Observer

    The purpose of a school is for education NOT for playing sports.

    Wilmington Observer

  • Topsailhighparent

    The Pender Board of Education has made it known that they are anti-tourism even though the major part of their budget comes from the eastern part of Pender County. The county finances are not strong enough in this economy to justify add extra transportation cost, busing students from 3 High Schools to CFCC North Campus plus running the bus 3 weeks early for High School Students when the program is only open to Jr & Sr. One of the area that will be looked at for cuts is sports travel, so coach you may not have to worry about fielding teams and getting players to school early you may not have anywhere to go play. People need to attend these meetings, look at the cost, look at how few students will benefit from this program, and understand that even though it is promoted as free realize that nothing in life is free someone will pay for this program the Community College Instructors don’t volunteer their time, the book company doesn’t donate books and diesel for a fleet of buses doesn’t some from a back yard well. The added expense for child care for some families in these times will be unbearable. This is your tax rate both local and state that will pay for this program.

  • Guest1955

    I think that we should go back to starting an the Tuesday after Labor Day and getting out the Friday before Memorial Day. We would still go 180 days.

  • Wilmington Observer

    How many other, local, high schools arrange their calendar around Cape Fear Community College (CFCC)?  

    Would it not make more sense for CFCC to adjust THEIR calendar to accomodate ALL, area, high school students?

    How many Pender County students would this change accomodate verses the number is would create a hardship for?  

    What would be the, additional, cost for this calendar change?  

    Will there be any compensation for highschool employees who will have to find child care for their children while they are not able to be home to care for them (unemployed people have access to government funded childcare)?

    Why does Pender County not just make the move to a “year round” calendar so that students and teachers are not so exhausted at the end of long periods without a break?  Right now, just before spring break there is little learning taking place due to mental fatigue.

    Wilmington Observer

  • PenderTeacher

    Some of your questions could be answered at the public information meetings. They also could have been answered at the BOE meeting that no one attended.

    Colleges are not going to change their schedules. This would cause a bigger mess.

    Pender Early College and other Early College High Schools already have their calendars adjusted like this. It is working well for them. However, they are only allowed to accept a certain number of students. Add those in to the 250 some that are attempting to do this now at regular high schools and you will have close to 500 or more currently taking courses. There are roughly 2500 high school students in the county. This number will increase with the new schedule! From what I understand, New Hanover County was trying to do the same, but didn’t get it approved in time.

    The added cost right now is estimated to be $93,000 for all three busses to run. This number will probably fluctuate a little before settling down.

    Teachers are not compensated now for child care. In case you didn’t know, teachers already start back to school a week earlier than the students and end about 4-5 days later. When our kids are not in school, we usually are with work days.

    Finally, new studies are being released that are showing that year round schools are not doing any better than traditional schools.


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