LETTER: Why is board moving to change calendar?

Jan. 08, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

To the Editor:

On Jan. 8, the Lee County School Board will meet to discuss whether all elementary and middle schools should use a year-round schedule next year. Depending on your source, this is either a done deal or an exercise in futility. Regardless, the question still must be asked — why?

I am not certain why the board would move all schools to the new schedule, leaving the high schools on the traditional calendar. The start and end dates would be moved some as well for the high schools.

Despite all efforts to convince Wake County that this schedule results in better test scores, an article published in The News and Observer on Dec. 31, 2012, states that there is no difference in their system, which operates on both calendars. Additionally, the article notes that the school board in Wake County is proposing new schools on the traditional calendar after setting up the dual system not long ago. It makes you wonder why they would seek more money than necessary to build schools if the year-round system is superior both educationally and financially.

Tramway Elementary usually ranks near the top in grade-level testing. It would be easy to assume that this is due to the school's schedule. I have seen the students that have the greatest success tend to be the ones that have the greatest parental involvement. They are at school programs, field trips and the school. Tramway parents have chosen that school and are, therefore, predisposed to be more involved. Little wonder that they have success. The new calendar will make them a district school, and that may change quickly. Removing the superior outcomes as a likely benefit, what other benefits could there be?

My family will have a split schedule for 11 years with this proposed plan. I will have to decide how to properly supervise my children while out of school because I will not have enough leave days to cover necessary days of both calendars. Does the school board assume that my high school children will be okay at home by themselves? I am the only who can answer that for my children.

The school board needs to remember that we are its customers. Many customers will not be happy with an across-the-board mandated change. I await the good reasons for this proposed change. We as customers get to vote as well.

Mike Neal