Debate Over School Start Date Renewed In NC House

The legislative debate over how much flexibility to give public schools in setting their calendars is back on, three years after a rancorous battle at the General Assembly.

In 2004, parents and the tourism industry won by getting a law passed that required schools to start no earlier than August 25th and end no later than June 10th.

But there were some exceptions, including districts with lots of bad weather and individual schools with a specific educational need to adjust their calendars.

Now a bill being considered by a House committee would allow entire school districts to receive a waiver so that schools could finish exams by Christmas break or make it easier for students to take community college-level classes.

Louise Lee with the parents' group Save Our Summers says she believes that bill would gut the entire law and let districts start when they choose.

But a lobbyist representing local school boards says that's -not- true.

Leslie Winner doubts additional exemptions would cause districts to start schools in early August, which most did before the 2004 law took effect.