PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Pender County Schools asked for public input while making a decision on revising the school calendar after Hurricane Florence and the public responded.
A survey sent by PCS received 4,600 responses and more than 700 comments and at a Pender Board of Education meeting Tuesday, the option favored by staff and members of the community was selected.
Tasked with devising a plan to make up a minimum of 10 student days and seven staff workdays, a 25-member committee, using community feedback, came up with several options to make up for class time lost while Pender schools were closed Sept. 11-Oct. 23 because of the storm.
The choice approved in a 3-2 vote by the board includes the following changes to the traditional student calendar:
- Nov. 6 (Election Day) becomes a student day
- Nov. 21 (vacation day) becomes an early release day
- Dec. 20 (early release day) becomes a full student day
- Dec. 21 (vacation day) becomes a student day
- Jan. 22 (mandatory staff workday) becomes a student day
- March 11 (mandatory staff workday) becomes a student day
- June 10-13 (staff workdays) become student days
- June 14 (vacation day) becomes an early release day
- June 17-20 becomes two mandatory and two optional staff workdays
The first semester will now end on Feb. 8 to create 78 days in the first semester. The end of the second semester will be moved to June 14 creating 84 days in that semester.
Adding days was the preferred option because there was concern that extending school days might affect bus schedules, possibly creating longer commute times for some students, and extending the school year means testing could be pushed back since it is legally allowed during the last 10 days of school.
Making the school day longer or having school on Saturdays to make up lost time are still options in case winter or otherwise inclement weather forces schools to close.
The board also voted on compensation for school employees during the storm. Staff members who worked beyond an 8-5 schedule during the hurricane will receive time and a half pay for those overtime hours.
Non-exempt employees will receive their normal pay, and if they worked more than 40 hours Sept. 11-23, they will receive time and a half pay.
All exempt employees who worked at Pender County schools used as shelters will also receive a daily stipend of $100 per day worked.