Bid for modified school calendar appears likely to fail

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 01:49 PM.

Efforts by Craven County Schools to get on one modified school calendar for the 2013-14 school year have failed.

However, school officials say the issue is not dead for 2014-15 and beyond.

Any change in the current three-calendar system in Craven County would have to be approved by the General Assembly because of current state law. Despite the introduction of a local bill aimed at allowing the change in the N.C. House earlier this year, a Senate version never followed. And with the school system’s deadline for state action on the calendar request approaching on Friday, General Assembly approval of the proposed change is not likely.

"The reason is that so many others filed local bills," said Carr Ipock, chairman of the Craven County Board of Education. "That took the focus off the local bills and put it on the state law. There were requests from across the state."

A state law approved in 2004 sets Aug. 25 as the opening day for classes in public schools, other than those schools on a year-round calendar. Craven County school officials wanted to back that up to Aug. 5, which would allow high school exams and some other required testing to be completed prior to the traditional two-week Christmas break.

Under the current traditional calendar, exams take place in the middle of January when the semester ends and after students have been off for about two weeks for Christmas break. Ipock said such a situation does not benefit students.

"We’re losing those couple of weeks in January," Ipock said. "We come back (from Christmas break) and spend the first two weeks in review getting ready for exams before we start introducing new material. A lot of people feel that is lost time."

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