Boards eye local control of calendar


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Monday, January 14, 2019

School and county officials across the Albemarle are joining their colleagues across the state in support of state legislation to return control of the public school calendar to local officials.

Among the area governing boards that have already adopted resolutions supporting local control of the school calendar are the Camden Board of Education, Camden Board of Commissioners and the Chowan Board of Commissioners.

Additional boards are likely to take similar actions in the weeks ahead as the local control movement gains steam across the state.

Chowan County Manager Kevin Howard said Saturday that local control of the school calendar makes sense. He said he can’t see why anyone would oppose it.

Camden Schools Superintendent Joe Ferrell told the Camden school board Thursday that state-imposed restrictions on when school can start and end make it much more difficult for school officials to plan the calendar.

Ferrell said school officials statewide are pushing for legislation this year to allow local control of the school calendar and there is optimism that such a bill will be approved.

Local officials used to control their school calendars until state lawmakers, acting largely at the behest of the state’s tourism industry, who said it depends on younger workers and families taking vacations in late summer, changed the law mandating when the school year can begin and end. There have been previous efforts to return control of the school calendar to local school districts, but thus far they’ve proven unsuccessful.