Wake County traditional-calendar students will know ahead of time next school year that they’ll have to attend classes on two Saturdays if bad weather closes schools too often.
Wake County school board members gave tentative approval Tuesday to a list of makeup days for next year for traditional-calendar schools that includes full-day makeup days on Saturdays: Oct. 3 and April 16.
Wake has historically avoided using Saturdays for traditional-calendar schools, so parents balked this school year when administrators proposed making up days lost to winter snow with classes on two Saturdays.
School administrators said they chose Saturdays that would not conflict with SAT or ACT test dates, when high school students may be taking those college admissions exams. But Wake administrators learned Wednesday that Oct. 3 was recently confirmed as a SAT test date by the College Board, which administers the exam. A different Saturday may be recommended when the school board has the official vote on the makeup days on May 5.
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A third Saturday of May 7, 2016, was dropped Tuesday because it falls on Mother’s Day weekend.
Wake follows a state requirement of having at least 1,025 hours of instruction annually for students.
School leaders said they’d turn to those two Saturdays only if there are too many fall school closures and if they’ve exhausted using early-release days and the excess hours school systems already have built into their schedule.
Wake wouldn’t schedule classes during spring break next year unless April 16 is used. Some families complained this year when Wake dropped the plan of having makeup days on two Saturdays and Good Friday in favor of taking three days out of spring break in March.
Administrators presented new makeup options for the 2015-16 school year in response to complaints from parents about the way makeup days were handled this school year, when classes were canceled on eight days. Wake didn’t list a specific order of makeup days.
On the new list, Wake lists every possible makeup day. Superintendent Jim Merrill said they want to be able to tell parents which makeup day will be used as soon as school is closed.
“Given the whipsaw we experienced, we’ve swung completely the other way and actually want no flexibility,” he said. “Boom, here it is.”
Hui: 919-829-4534; Twitter: @nckhui