Call To ‘Go Rogue’ Highlights CMS Frustration With NC School Calendar Law – WFAE

Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board members Tuesday urged the district to defy the state law that dictates when the school year can begin and end.

Their remarks highlight long-simmering frustration with North Carolina’s school calendar law — and perhaps signal that life is returning to normal after the pandemic.

The General Assembly passed the law in 2003, with support from the tourism industry and some parents and teachers. It requires school districts to wait until late August to begin classes.

Ever since, school boards around the state have griped about, lobbied against and sought exemptions from the restrictions. Critics say starting earlier lets schools give first-semester exams before winter break, which is more effective for students and teachers. And with a growing number of high-schools offering college-based classes, flexibility would allow K-12 schools to synchronize with higher education.

Districts ‘Go Rogue’

In 2019, a handful of districts in the Charlotte region simply approved calendars with earlier start dates. They included Iredell-Statesville, Mooresville, Lincoln County, Anson County and Kannapolis.

When the CMS board discussed its 2022 calendar, Rhonda Cheek made note of that trend.

“I’m not saying that CMS should go rogue, ‘cause we’re big,” she said, and paused. “Well, I am actually saying we should go rogue because we’re big and if we go rogue, what are they going to do? Like what would they actually do? Are they gonna come and, like, slap our hands? Cause, like, my hand’s ready.”

Of course, a lot has happened since the 2019 calendar rebellion. The pandemic closed
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