• Five more days of school?

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    MCDOWELL COUNTY, N.C. - New legislation says that students inNorth Carolinamust be in school at least 185 days during the school year, five more days than was previously required of school systems throughout the state.

    Budget cuts and rising school system operation costs are just a few of the reasons why McDowell County Schools have put in a waiver to turn the additional five days into mandated staff development days.

    Superintendent Ira Trollinger presented a proposed second draft of the 2012 to 2013 school calendar featuring the mandated staff development days during this month’s Board of Education meeting.

    The new calendar replaced the five additional instructional days with mandated staff development days.

    Many staff members approved of the decision to put in a waiver for the development days.

    “In talking with our administration team, all of our directors and principals, they said we really need to seriously consider this,” said Trollinger when referring to the mandated staff development days. “We didn’t have this option until the last state board meeting, which took place a few days ago.”

    During that meeting, the state superintendent was given the authority to approve waivers for the five additional days. Those additional days could not be work days but could be staff development days.

    Cost was one of the reasons why the waiver request made sense to staff members.

    “With the price of diesel increasing, it’s estimated that those five additional days could cost us as much as $40,000, and we’ve not heard whether or not we’ll receive any additional transportation funding,” Trollinger stated.

    Development days would also give educators the chance to expand their knowledge of new curriculum standards that take effect next school year.

    “If we do a good job of training teachers in the new curriculum, we’ll make the 180 mean so much more than the 185 days of instruction,” said Trollinger. “That’s our thinking from an administration perspective. We just need some time to make sure that we get all this training in.”

    After Trollinger finished presenting the calendar to board members, it was decided that a waiver would be sent in for the five additional days. Board members voted unanimously to do this and approved the second reading of the calendar.

    The third and final reading of the calendar will take place during the board’s next meeting on Monday, April 16.

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