Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday he’ll work with education leaders to give North Carolina school districts flexibility in making up time lost from snow and other inclement weather.
This week’s snowstorm blanketed the state, adding more time that school districts need to make up on top of the time lost last month and earlier this school year. McCrory said during a Friday news conference that he’s doing a “quick review” of the state’s school calendar law and hopes to make an announcement soon on what can be done to assist school superintendents working on makeup-day plans.
“I’m talking to my own chief legal counsel to see what authority I as governor have to allow more flexibilities in those counties that have been impacted by so many days off,” McCrory said. “I’ve got to ensure that I follow the law, and we are reviewing all of our options and we hope to have some announcements in the early weeks.”
Under state law, school districts are required to have either 185 days of classes or 1,025 hours of instruction per school year. Most school districts opted to meet the 1,025-hour requirement.
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School districts have been taking actions such as scheduling makeup days on Saturdays and holidays such as Good Friday and Memorial Day, taking time from spring break and extending the end of the school year.
“I’ve had several school superintendents and the Speaker of the House (Thom Tillis) and others call me up about how to deal with the maximum requirement of school days,” McCrory said.
McCrory said he will meet soon with State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson and Bill Cobey, chairman of the State Board of Education, to discuss the issue.
“I want to make sure I get feedback from all education officials regarding what flexibility should be given to counties that have been impacted and what flexibility we have on the state law requiring maximum amount of school days and whether or not we have flexibility in the adjudication and enforcement of that,” he said.
Atkinson could not be reached for comment Friday.
But the State Board of Education no longer has flexibility under state law to give waivers for districts that are short on hours, according to Vanessa Jeter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Instruction.
Some school districts haven’t yet announced how they’ll make up the time for this week’s snow days.
The announcement won’t come until next week in Wake County, the state’s largest school system. Wake has missed a total of seven days of school, including three this week.
Wake school administrators will ask the school board during Tuesday’s work session for guidance on establishing the makeup days for this week. The options could include some combination of extending the end of the school year for traditional-calendar schools, adding time to the school day, cutting into spring break, converting early-release days to full days and Saturday classes for year-round students.