BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Students around the area missed nearly a week of school thanks to the threat and eventual arrival of snow and ice last week, but state laws about the school calendar make rescheduling that missed time a challenge for administrators.
“North Carolina has very strict calendar laws that dictate when school can start and when school can stop,” Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said.
Rep. Frank Iler (R-17th District) says several years ago the state increased the number of days students must spend in the classroom.
“There is a theory that more hours and more days make better instruction,” Iler said. “I am not sure that has been proven.”
Monday district leaders in Brunswick County decided to change teacher workdays scheduled for Feb. 13 and 14 to school days. They say they will meet with principals next week to decide the best course of action to make up the other missed days.
“School systems have 185 days or 1,025 hours of instructional time, and they have an either/or situation,” Iler said. “They can manipulate the calendar to make up those days.”
That’s what Bladen County did by changing a teacher workday Friday, April 18, to a school day and adding 12 minutes for students and 16 minutes for staff each day starting next Monday through the end of the school year June 11.
In Brunswick County, the district has already taken Saturdays off the table as a possibility.
“And we also recognize that because the calendar is really a tool for planning, that a lot of families have already booked vacations or have plans for Spring Break,” Swencki said.
A New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman says the district hopes to have an answer on its make-up days tomorrow. There’s also no word yet from other area school districts.