Charlotte-Mecklenburg students may once again avoid state lawmakers plans to add five days to their school year.
The N.C. General Assembly voted to require a 185-day school calendar in 2011, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and many other districts got permission to stick with 180 for the past two years.
Last spring, the CMS board approved a 185-day calendar for 2013-14.
But in July, the state legislature revised the law to require 185 days or 1,025 hours of class time. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools exceeds the number of class hours in only 180 days.
So on Monday, the CMS calendar committee came up with two 2013-14 recommendations that drop the five extra student days, replacing them with teacher work days. The option that was most popular with committee members adds two days to winter break, bringing it to two full weeks.
One of the most common comments we get from the community and the staff is We want a longer winter break, committee chair Marie Slusser told the group of CMS employees. Theyll take the two 180-day options to the school board in January.
CMS tries to plan its school calendars two years in advance, but the 185-day law has made that tricky.
The latest twist in the law came shortly after Heath Morrison became superintendent. On Friday, Morrison sent board members an update saying the requirement for 1,025 hours could be done through longer school days.
In 2011, CMS extended its elementary-school day by 45 minutes, a move that remains controversial with some families. Slusser said Monday its unnecessary to add time now.
Replacing student days with teacher work days gives faculty more time during the year for professional development, which could help teachers make better use of the digital technology thats being introduced, Slusser said. The proposed revisions also provide more make-up days in case schools close for winter weather.
Holding student days to 180 avoids added busing costs, which CMS has estimated at $1.2 million for five extra days.