Haywood County Schools Updates the Calendar for 2012-13
April 10, 2012 by admin
At the April 9th School Board meeting, the Haywood County Board of Education approved a new calendar for the 2012-13 school year.
Date: April 9, 2012
Contact: Dr. Anne Garrett, Superintendent
Dr. Bill Nolte, Associate Superintendent
Topic: Conflicting Law Prompts School Calendar Change
Effective July 1, 2012, amendments to NC General Statute 115C-302 were passed impacting all ten-month salaried employees. This impacts sixty-six percent of the districts 989 full-time employees. These employees include teachers, support staff, child nutrition managers and teacher assistants.
Conflicting areas of General Statute 115C-302 are:
“Except for teachers employed in a year-round school or paid in accordance with a year-round calendar, or both,the initial pay date for teachers shall be no later than August 31st and shall include a full monthly payment.”
“Teachers shall be paid only for the days employed as of the set pay date. Payment for a full month when days employed are less than a full month is prohibited, as this constitutes prepayment.”
Dr. Bill Nolte, Associate Superintendent said, “We are often burdened with unnecessary regulations and unfunded legislative mandates. This situation is especially frustrating because conflicting requirements in state law make it impossible to start school on our normal calendar without breaking the law.”
The law requires teachers to get a full paycheck by the end of August. However, the same law states teachers cannot be prepaid. It is impossible to follow both of these legal requirements unless the school year begins early in August.
If school starts in the middle of August like the past several years, the law is automatically violated. If school starts in the middle of August, teachers cannot receive a full paycheck because the law prohibits prepayment. If there is no prepayment, the law is violated because teachers do not receive a full check at the end of August.
Dr. Anne Garrett, Superintendent said, “We never want to knowingly break the law and we don’t get to pick and choose the parts of the law that we want to follow. It seems our only legal option is to start school a little earlier.”
To develop a solution to the contradiction in the law, the school district met with the calendar committee and officers from the district-wide parent organization. Both groups reviewed a calendar that has employees beginning the first week in August and students starting the second week in August. That calendar was approved by the Board of Education at the regular April 9, 2012 meeting. A copy of the newly adopted school calendar is attached.
While changing the calendar was not something the school district planned to do, there are some benefits. Starting students six days earlier matches better with college calendars. This allows early graduates to have a smooth transition into full-time college work. The earlier start also allows semester tests to be taken before the winter holiday break and reduces the chance that testing will be disrupted by snow or ice.
The summer break between school calendars this summer will be sixty-three (63) days. The last two years the break was sixty days (60) days and sixty-three (63) days. So changing the calendar does not decrease the length of the typical summer break. Since the area experienced a mild winter, starting school a little earlier could help prevent what many researchers call the “summer slide.” This is the loss of reading, math and other educational skills that occurs when students are out of school for extended periods of time.
Dr. Bill Nolte, Associate Superintendent said, “We understand the legislature may address the conflict in the law at some point. Unfortunately, they have not taken any action so far. We felt it was appropriate to do something to prevent our employees from going six-weeks without a paycheck or from having a partial paycheck in August.”
Dr. Anne Garrett, Superintendent said, “We realize this change will cause some conflicts with pre-planned vacations and camps scheduled early in August. We will certainly make every reasonable effort to work with people who already have plans.”