Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is Year-Round Schooling Coming To The Deep South?

Anyone who's spent a summer in the deep south develops a healthy dislike for humidity and an abiding respect for that technological marvel known as air conditioning.

And now a combination of explosive population growth and reluctance to raise taxes if forcing some districts in North Carolina to take
a hard look at year round schooling:
Wake County parents sounded off for the last time Monday on a plan to convert elementary schools to a year-round schedule.

At least 100 people crowded a public hearing at Southeast Raleigh High School to give the Board of Education their opinion.

“My name is Cindy Cincos. I represent a contingent of parents from Highcroft Drive Elementary opposed to mandatory year-round schools.”

One by one, Wake County parents made one last plea to the Board of Education.

“We ask that you please not convert A.B. Combs to a year-round calendar,” another parent said.

“Over 89 percent of our staff at Baucom has total opposition to forced conversion,” added another parent.

Supporters stood behind them in a show of solidarity. Those not at the podium let signs speak for them, all hoping the public hearing would make a difference in the school system's plan to convert nearly two dozen elementary schools to a year-round calendar.

"We've been to a lot of the meetings before and they listened to us so we want them to listen this time on the year-round issue,” said parent Carol Gehringer.

Administrators say they need to make room for 3000 students next school year and they believe year-round conversion is one of the best ways to do that.

But these parents don't buy it.

"Moving a current year-round student to another year-round school would only shuffle them from one school to another, not create additional seats,” said parent Matt Long.

Parents are clinging to the hope that their comments will convince the school board to change their plans.

Gehringer added, “We're just praying that they'll use some good sense and not look for the short-term answer."

Now the school board must decide exactly which schools will convert to a year-round calendar. They're scheduled to vote on the issue next week.
Our local high school district down here in California's "Imperial" Valley switched over to a year-round schedule, only to abandon it a few years later due to excessive absenteeism (we're in the desert) and the publicizing of the unpleasant fact that those with influence were able to get their children enrolled into a "traditional" track (There were 4 different "tracks," or schedules, called, "A," "B," "C," and "D.") that preserved the "traditional" summer vacation for them (It was track "C.") while the other three tracks attended year-round.
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