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No flexibility for Wake County school calendar

The deadline has passed in the State General Assembly without legislation being passed to grant Wake County school system the ability to operate its own charter schools, as well as to set its own academic calendar moving forward.

The Wake County school board did not attempt to have statewide legislation enacted, but only pressed for a local bill that affected just its jurisdiction. However, House Bill 206, which would have granted the requested flexibility to the county’s school district, died in committee. This leaves Wake County schools stuck with North Carolina’s academic calendar.

Many local school districts feel constrained by state education guidelines, including those dealing with Common Core standards. Cary schools and others in Wake County were included in 45 different local calendar bills with 75 other North Carolina education districts, according to the organization Let Our Authority Be Local (LOCAL). None of these bills made any headway either.

LOCAL is a coalition specifically created to push for school calendar flexibility. A lone statewide calendar bill did pass out of committee before the House deadline. However, House Bill 164 appears to be a school calendar flexibility bill in name only.

According to Leanne Winner, the N.C. School Boards Association’s chief lobbyist, H.S. 164 does not increase flexibility above what the school districts presently have, nor does it give them the authority to run their own charter institutions.

One member of LOCAL, FreedomWorks, agreed that House Bill 164 would provide no additional flexibility and has urged lawmakers to reject it.

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