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CMS says NC state law is reason behind late start to school year

This year, CMS students head back to school on August 29th that's only one month away! Many parents are asking why it's so late.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students will head back to class on Aug. 29, and that date has many parents wondering why school isn't starting sooner. 

Many parents have reached out to WCNC Charlotte's VERIFY team to find out why CMS is getting such a late start this year. The number of questions led to CMS posting about it on Facebook, explaining it's the latest start in district history and that the district can't control it. 

"We're getting a lot of calls and emails asking why the school year starts so late this year," the CMS Board of Education wrote on Facebook. "Admittedly August 29th is the latest we've ever started a school year, but this is not by our choice."

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"It is later than we have started before," Marshall said. 

CMS will welcome students back into their classrooms on Aug. 29, but it's not their choice. It's actually state law.

"Per state statute, we have to start the Monday after the 26th, so that puts us at the 29th to start," Marshall said. "If we could start earlier, we would."

So how come other districts can start later? According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, charter schools, cooperative innovative high schools, year-round schools and schools with weather-related calendar waivers are exempt from the law. Those schools need to start no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 19, something Marshall would like CMS to be able to do. 

"Our community college partners start mid-August, just like most colleges and charter schools start, and they do so they can take their exams before winter break," Marshall said. 

CMS, as well as other school districts, said it is working with the General Assembly in hopes of changing the law so they can start sooner. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.

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