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Next year’s school calendar up for vote

SALISBURY — The 2018-19 school calendar is up for a vote.

Over the weekend, the school district staff released two proposed versions of next year’s calendar and asked for feedback from faculty, staff and parents.

“And we got what we asked for. We got that feedback,” said Kristi Rhone, director of human resources with Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

Rhone showed the two options to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education during its work session Monday.

Both proposed calendars have school starting on Aug. 27 and ending on June 7, 2019.

However, parents and teachers listed several concerns about both versions of the calendar. Both have an early-release day set for Wednesday, Sept. 26 — an oddity some couldn’t get over. Others were concerned about the effect of giving exams before Christmas holidays could have in the classroom.

One calendar also has Nov. 6, Election Day, earmarked as an optional teacher workday — which staff members said set their minds at ease when it came to students’ safety.

Rhone said the committee working on the calendar would likely come up with a third option that will incorporate the feedback received.

“I think it’s a very positive move to show parents that you’re listening, that the school system is listening,” school board Vice Chairwoman Susan Cox said.

Superintendent Lynn Moody and school administrators have been gunning for a degree of local calendar control that would allow high schools to finish exams before winter break. For the past two years, January exam weeks have been interrupted by heavy snows and missed school days.

According to Moody, the district may have found a way to handle that problem. Law dictates that exams must be held the last five days of the semester, but it does not specify when the semester must end.

“One thing we’re looking at is, does the fall semester have to be the same length as the spring semester?” said Aleisa Burnette, director of accountability.

The district may have the option of making the fall semester nine days shorter than the spring semester in order to clear exams before the holidays. It’s an option that would affect only high schools, Moody said.

Administrators are still seeking feedback on the proposal, she said. And several area high schools will start the 2018-19 year as a charter restart, which grants them calendar flexibility.

“So they may be requesting to get on a different calendar than our district calendar,” Moody said.

The district plans to hammer out the system calendar before focusing on those for restart schools.

Parents and teachers can view the proposed calendars and vote at www.rssed.org. Feedback is open until Friday.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

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