Breaking News
More () »

CMS leaders against a possible condensed school year in NC

North Carolina law requires school districts to start the closest Monday to Aug. 26. In 2023 that’s Aug. 28.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — As the year ends, most school boards in North Carolina are finishing voting on their new calendars for the upcoming school year. 

North Carolina law requires school districts to start the closest Monday to Aug. 26. In 2023 that’s Aug. 28.

As early as September, districts started to defy this mandate. 

If schools didn’t vote to start earlier than state law allows next year, many at least flirted with the idea. 

"I personally think what is best for kids is to start earlier, and a lot of my board colleagues think that on my board and on many other boards," Elyse Dashew, CMS Board Chair said in October before the board voted to start school Aug. 28. 

Due to construction plans, CMS didn’t vote to start school earlier next year, but Dashew and several other board members echoed sentiments to start 2024-25 year earlier.

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.  

Cabarrus County schools made a decision in September to defy state law.

"Vote on this early start," Rob Walter, Cabarrus County School Board Member said before the vote. "Is that what the goal here is? That it's legal to do?”

Walter was met by silence from the board. 

The board voted unanimously to the start date of Aug. 9.

The district follows the lead of what districts like Cleveland and Rutherford counties did this school year. 

The list of districts defying state law also includes Gaston County. 

The chair of the North Carolina House Education Committee, John Torbett,  represents this area. 

"His county actually voted to violate the current legislation by starting earlier," CMS Board Member Rhonda Cheek said. 

She spoke at CMS's Intergovernmental Relationships Committee this week discussing the district's legislative agenda for next year. 

They continue a years-long fight to change the law to allow for flexibility for districts' start dates. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.  

"We have seen a hint from the head of the North Carolina House Education Committee about doing something very different that I think would be counterintuitive to our student's academic progress," Margaret Marshall, CMS IRC Committee Chair and board member, said. 

Torbett announced an education committee he leads plans to present a legislative agenda that forces schools to start the year even later than the end of August.

Future legislation could make students start after Labor Day and end before Labor Day. 

The district, like many others in the Charlotte- area, would likely lobby against it. 

"Anything that would shorten the school year and take away days of instruction, I just don't think this is the right time in history as where our kids are still -- it's going to take us a few years to catch back up after all the interruption from COVID," Dashew said at the IRC meeting. 

Torbett's committee report is anticipated to come out in December. The next legislative session is in January. 

Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Before You Leave, Check This Out