Heath Morrison and the school board are riding a wave of good feelings after last week's decision to save spring break. But a March snow could shake things up again. Morrison made it clear that any more closings will result in spring-break makeup days.
Some have asked why. The state's minimum of 1,025 hours leaves plenty of wiggle room. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools started with 180 days and 1,080 instructional hours; giving up two days leaves the district at 1,068, according to the presentation to the board.
|It's looking like spring, but ...|
The answer? Morrison isn't willing to give up any more days of class, even if the law allows it.
"The extra hours in our academic calendar were put there to benefit students," Morrison said in his weekly report to employees. "The winter storm in February was an extraordinary event and we felt a unique response was justified – but we won’t use any more of our additional instructional time for snow days this year. Academic achievement is always our first goal as a district and we don’t think using more hours for snow days is in the best interests of our students."
The hours-vs-days discussion has highlighted another confusing aspect of our state calendar law. (I've always been perplexed by why the state controls the calendar at all, and if it's driven by the tourism industry, why those folks consider it a benefit to crunch summer vacation into one uniform stretch.) When state lawmakers bumped the required days up from 180 to 185, there was a lot of talk about demanding more class time for kids. Then, faced with protests from school districts, they added the hours as an alternative. CMS, like many districts, stuck with a 180-day calendar. I hadn't done the math before, but since CMS seems to be using six hours as the instructional time (schools are open for seven) it looks like the district could actually cut back to 170 days under state law. So ... more, less, whatever?
Meanwhile, CMS' calendar planners start work on the 2015-16 schedule today. They'll invite parents, employees and other interested folks to join them for meetings from 4-6 p.m. March 17 and 24 in the cafeteria of Metro School, 405 S. Davidson St.