3/28/12 County schools won’t see extra days

County schools won’t see extra days
Report says 91 of 115 state systems received waiver
By Mike Wilder The Times-News 3/28/12     
Reprinted with permission.

   Students in the Alamance-Burlington School System will be in class for the usual 180 days during the 2012-13 school year.

   That follows a decision by the State Board of Education to give the system a waiver to a new requirement that students in the state’s schools attend class for 185 days.

   The 185-day provision was approved by the N.C. General Assembly in 2011. In approving the 185 days, the Legislature gave the State Board of Education the right to consider waivers for school systems that request one.    Superintendent Lillie Cox announced during a Monday night school board meeting the school system received the waiver for 2012-13, after previously receiving a waiver for the current school year.

   School system administrators and school board members have said they are not opposed, in theory, to adding the days. But before the start of the 2011-12 year, the system asked for a waiver based largely on the short time between the requirement being approved and the beginning of the academic year.

   This year, Cox and Assistant Superintendent Angela Duncan said the system needs to use the five days for staff training. The system, like others in North Carolina, is preparing teachers, principals and others to put in place the state’s new curriculum.

   The News & Observer of Raleigh reported 91 of the state’s 115 schools systems requested and received waivers exempting them from the 185-day requirement for 2012-13.

   Besides saying the days are needed for teacher training, school systems have raised questions about the cost of adding five instructional days.

   The Alamance-Burlington system estimated it would cost an additional $180,000 for bus transportation if five days were added.

   State Schools Superintendent June Atkinson said school districts throughout North Carolina projected additional transportation and potential costs of having students in buildings for five more days at $14 million.

   Local school board members and administrators have also said it’s hard to find five additional student days when state law requires the academic year to start no earlier than Aug. 25 and finish by June 10.

   The Associated Press contributed to this report