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Stanly school board discusses calendar options

Stanly County School Board recently discussed starting the school year earlier but decided to go ahead with the regular traditional calendar produced by the calendar committee.

Georgia Harvey presented the 2020-2021 traditional calendar for approval, noting the calendar for Stanly Early College had to wait until Stanly Community College’s calendar was approved so the two calendars would mesh.

The 2020-21 traditional calendar passed will have the 2020-2021 school year starting Aug. 24, where other school systems have implemented calendars starting two weeks earlier.

Board member Anthony Graves asked about a resolution passed with other counties about any flexibility of the calendar. Superintendent Dr. Jeff James said 13 local education agencies had what the state would call a rogue calendar.

“Depending on who you ask and how you decide what a year-round school system is depends on if it’s legal or not,” James said. “We like those calendars, but we also did not want to go down that path of going to that calendar and having the General Assembly redefine what year-round school was and have to change it back.”

Graves said with the Assembly not addressing the calendar issue, he does not want the subject being kicked down the road indefinitely.

James said SCS needs to be able to start when the community college starts with the “best practice being to have final exams for first semester take place before Christmas break.”

Board member Glenda Gibson asked if the SCS calendar committee could draft another calendar for the board to see which would coincide with SCC.

James said anyone east of I-95 would favor the traditional calendar because of the effect starting earlier would have on tourism, along with counties in the mountains.

Harvey said the dilemma is having the students’ schedule set up in the PowerSchool software system before going on summer vacation.

The superintendent said if the board wants to work toward the earlier calendar, the staff works with the pleasure of the board. However, legal counsel has informed SCS it is considered civil disobedience to not follow what the law says.

“My contract is written that I can not openly defy general statute,” James said.

Gibson said the board needs to take a look at the benefits of the calendar and for whom it benefits.

“That should be, for me, the number-one priority,” Gibson said.

Vice Chairman Ryan McIntyre said he was not in favor of approving the traditional calendar despite the hard work by the committee.

“At some point you have make your voice heard…I’m personally not in favor of going ahead because I believe at some point we will have to put pressure on folks at the state level,” McIntyre said.

A motion passed 6-1, with McIntyre the only dissenting vote.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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