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School Start and End Dates report Approved By the State Board of Education

calendar The State Board of Education approved the Report on School Start and End Dates at their meeting on Thursday as required by Senate Bill 343 (Session Law 2019-165) passed July 26.

The new law requires that each local board of education report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education on the start and end dates of the student instructional calendar for the next academic year. The local board of education shall report this information for each school under the control of that board and shall identify the statutory exception authorizing an earlier start date. While the reporting deadline for the school year already in progress has been extended until September 15, future reports will be required annually by April 1.

School calendar legislation indicates that LEAs “start school no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather-related calendar waiver has been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative innovative high school.)” With NC DPI officials indicating that there is no definition of “year-round school,” several districts in North Carolina have adopted calendars that begin prior to the calendar mandate, ensuring students have sufficient time in the classroom, learning and working in every month of the year – including June and July.

DPI Chief Business Officer Alexis Schauss noted that the informational report identifies exceptions to calendar legislation that fall into three primary categories:

  • School districts that believe the calendar approved by their local board is a year-round calendar.
  • School districts that align start dates with a community college calendar to facilitate dual enrollment.
  • School districts having a non-exempt school sharing a campus with a school that has an exemption to the legislation. Aligning the non-exempt calendar to follow the school with an exemption maximizes efficiency and staffing.

During the meeting Chairman Eric Davis noted that “our Superintendents have been conscientious, and a bit courageous, in trying to work within the law for what’s in the best interests of students. There are others, who rightfully so, will advocate for a different calendar for their best interests. It’s up to us to lift up what is in our student’s best interests.”

Chairman Davis, Vice Chairman Alan Duncan and Greene County Superintendent Dr. Patrick Miller did an excellent job of guiding the conversation and working with DPI to adjust the language in the final Report on School Start and End Dates to reflect the intention of our districts, who feel strongly that they are operating within the law and have done so with no intent of wrongdoing.

“We have taken the position that there should be greater flexibility within start and end dates of schools, and we’ve advocated for calendar flexibility before. The unintended consequence that this reporting requirement provides is that we have an open door to continue this discussion with our legislators,” Chairman Davis remarked.