Jan. 21, 2013. Liking it or not, the Watauga County Board of Education, at last week’s January board meeting, approved the school calendar for the 2013-14 school year for Watauga County Schools.
The calendar aligns with North Carolina’s school calendar law passed by the N.C. General Assembly that states schools may begin no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26, and if the school system is approved for the adverse-weather waiver – as Watauga County is – then the earliest first day of school for the 2013-14 year is Aug. 19. The maximum one-week waiver is allowed for schools that have missed eight or more school days due to weather in at least four of the ten years.
The Aug. 19 date would be the latest starting date in many years for Watauga, according to the winter edition of the Learning Leader, the school system’s seasonal newsletter.
“This late start date would make it impossible to complete the first semester before the winter break, a development that would endanger the prospects for some of our high school students to graduate early and enroll in college for the spring semester,” according to the newsletter, which added that another drawback to the late start date is that a snowy winter would extend the school year well into June, possibly jeopardizing spring break for the students.
According to a Watauga County Schools survey, the respondents were as much opposed to the state school calendar law, which reduces the ability of local school systems to set its own calendar dates, as the school board and other personnel.
- 78.9 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed it is important to complete the first semester before winter break
- 76.4 percent agreed or strongly agreed that local school systems should be allowed to determine school starting dates
- 60.8 percent agreed or strongly agreed it is important to end the school year before June
Just in case the N.C. General Assembly amends the school law and allows an earlier start date, the school board approved an alternative calendar with the first day of school set at Aug. 7.
However, barring any change in the law, Aug. 19 would be the first day of school for 2013-14 in Watauga County.
The two different calendars are below. Note that the first one below is the alternative calendar.