RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina House members on Tuesday commenced their biennial efforts to give local school systems more flexibility over when they can hold classes, as a committee passed several school calendar measures.
Current law requires K-12 districts to open the school year no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11. There are exceptions, such as for districts where weather-related school closings are common.
One statewide bill approved by a House education committee would move up permanently the start date by a week. Other local measures applying to one or a few districts would allow even earlier start dates, or provide school boards wide-ranging calendar flexibility. Some local bills would only allow temporary changes for two or three years.
The General Assembly approved a uniform calendar law in 2004 in response to parents and businesses worried that traditional summer vacations from school were diminishing, making it harder to find young people who could fill seasonal jobs at the coast. The Senate has blocked efforts through House legislation over the years to eliminate or weaken that base law.
But House lawmakers haven’t taken no for an answer, saying calendar decisions should be left to local school leaders, with input from parents. They also say the current restrictions make it hard to complete first-semester exams before Christmas.
Some bill sponsors say schools need flexibility to address academic failings caused by the use on virtual learning during the pandemic.