GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Two local lawmakers introduced House Bill 129, which would impact Pitt County Public Schools’ calendar, if passed.
Republican Rep. Tim Reeder and Democratic Rep. Gloristine Brown filed the bill Wednesday and introduced the bill to the House of Representatives on Thursday. They and other officials say there’s overwhelming support across North Carolina to allow local school boards to have flexibility with their school calendar. It’s the reason local representatives are pushing for House Bill 129.
“Starting at different dates allows the alignment of the Pitt County schools with Pitt Community College, where a number of students take classes,” said Reeder. “It also would prevent exams from happening right after the Christmas break.”
Joshua Breazeale is the executive director for Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County and has multiple children within the county’s public school system.
“Having a rising ninth grader, it would be really helpful for them to finish their semester before winter break so they can take their exams and be able to enjoy their break without having to think about school and class work and to come back in and cram the next few weeks after winter break to get ready for those exams that are so important for their success,” said Breazeale.
Pitt County Schools conducted a survey about calendar flexibility. They found 90% of the people surveyed were in favor of the school calendar being adjusted to an earlier start date.
“I know that there is a way to get a waiver from the state. So Pitt County certainly has explored that option, and I would hope that the state would honor the request of a waiver from districts that have stated valid reasons to why it would be helpful for the students, teachers and staff that work so hard for the success of the students,” said Breazeale.
While the school calendar is approved for 2023-24, Brown said that won’t stop the process.
“[The bill] was something we wanted to look at and hope that we could help out the school system as well as honor what the parents are asking for, and the students as well,” said Brown.
House Bill 129 will be heard by the education K-12 committee next week.