Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plans to shave a day off spring break to make up for Friday’s school closing, a move that’s bound to be unpopular with parents who were already asking why the district needs any makeup days at all.
“What more are the kids going to learn in 3 make up days. Just a waste! I’d rather have our teacher workdays,” Kennisha Moten posted on the CMS Facebook page.
Makeup time starts Monday, which was supposed to be a teacher work day. High school students will return to a first-semester exam schedule that was interrupted when snow fell Wednesday.
Students will return on Feb. 19, another scheduled teacher work day, to offset Thursday’s snow day, when the area was covered by powdery snow.
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Friday was more of a slush and mud day in most of Mecklenburg County, but remaining icy roads and slippery sidewalks led CMS to close a third day. CMS announced Friday afternoon that the makeup day would be March 29, which would have been the start of spring break.
“My daughter’s charter school as well as other schools districts in the area have built in days. Why not CMS?” Kate Weaver asked on Facebook.
The reality is that CMS does. The calendar, which is approved more than a year in advance, includes more classroom time than the state requires – three more days in the current school year. And CMS policy lets the superintendent waive up to four days without seeking the school board’s approval.
So why isn’t Clayton Wilcox using that power now? The simple answer: Winter isn’t over.
“We’ve got six to eight weeks of potential bad weather still coming,” said CMS spokesman Tracy Russ.
The school board designates makeup days as part of each year’s calendar. This year there were seven, two of which passed in December.
If CMS skipped the chance to use the next two days – Jan. 22 and Feb. 19 – and was forced to close schools again, that would leave only March 29, along with June 11 and 12, the Monday and Tuesday after school is scheduled to end. All of those would be unpopular with families, and attendance would almost certainly be low.
Russ said CMS is trying to preserve flexibility and make the most of learning time. That means if March arrives with no more closings, Wilcox could reconsider that spring break makeup day.
“I don’t want to guarantee anyone that,” he cautioned.
A handful of CMS schools will have different makeup days based on individual situations, from alternative calendars to the closing of North Mecklenburg High when the heat failed earlier this month.
The delayed exam schedule also means the CMS midyear graduation will be postponed to Feb. 8.
If it’s any consolation, Wake County has it worse. Unlike CMS, the state’s largest district had already closed two days before this week’s snow hit. The four makeup days there include part of spring break and the start of summer vacation.