The Carteret County School System is not planning to move to a year-round school calendar or to shorten our summers. We are exploring calendar options. We are spending time surveying teachers, talking to parents and meeting with stakeholders in our local tourism industry. We wanted to be transparent up front that we are reviewing our current calendar obstacles, and that we would be exploring options that are available to us.
Year-round public schools, low-performing public schools, charter schools, early colleges, and private schools are all exempt from the part of the school calendar law governing school start and end dates. Our traditional public schools are unfortunately at a disadvantage.
As many public school systems continue to be frustrated by the current school calendar legislation, more and more are considering some form of year-round or modified year-round calendar. This could hurt our tourism economy worse than allowing public schools to “shift” their calendars by a couple of weeks. Holding too firmly onto the current school calendar dates could backfire, resulting in even fewer weeks of summer vacation time for families to spend in tourism-based counties.
We could be content to sit on the sidelines and let other school systems in other counties figure this out, while they try to influence current legislation. But being from a county in which tourism is so important, but which also has great public schools, I think we owe it to our citizens to at least be involved in discussions.
We want to investigate whether there is any middle ground that could satisfy as many stakeholders as possible. We want to work with tourism organizations to see if we can come up with something that will work for both tourism and the school system. If that does not appear possible, then someone else may figure it out for us.
For school calendar drafts, length-of-summer calculations, and more details please refer to http://travisday.com/calendar.
Chairman, Carteret County Board of Education