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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Students in Pender County may be heading back to class early next school year. High schools starting the first week of August is one option under a proposed school calendar waiver. Both parents and teachers say they like the idea.

“School is for them,” said Cheryl Cain, mother of two high school students. “It’s not for parents. It’s not for tourism. It’s about what is the best for the kids. How are we going to make them productive citizens in the community?”

Parents say an early start to the school year would be an adjustment but they think it’s one worth making.

“Giving them the opportunity to go to college without leaving school should be something that they have,” said Cain.

The new schedule means high school students would start the school year August 6th, lining up with the class schedule at CFCC, allowing students to earn college credits. Teachers say there are other benefits to the modified schedule.

“It works because students take their final courses before they leave for Christmas vacation so they are not left to their own devices for two weeks to try to student, to try to learn,” said 9th grade English teacher Antoinette Melvin. “They can’t get in touch with their teachers.”

Teachers say the new schedule would provide a fresh start for their students. They also agree that the new schedule would make up for some serious cuts to education.

“Our kids, with the cutbacks we’ve been having, have been missing out on opportunities that I had when I was in high school that are really unfortunate,” said Melvin.

Tuesday night was the first of three public hearings the Pender County School Board is hosting to get feedback from the community before they vote on the schedule. Parents of students in the county are urged to attend the hearings. The next meeting is at Topsail High School next Tuesday at 6 pm.

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