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NHC school board debates change to 2022-2023 academic calendar

A section of the NHCS traditional schools calendar for the 2022-2023 school year.

During Tuesday evening’s New Hanover County school board meeting, members engaged in a heated discussion over this year’s school calendar.

The contention was over whether the calendar plan had the official approval of the calendar committee. Member Hugh McManus said he had heard from teachers and staff that this year’s calendar was not the one they supported.

“Someone is not telling the correct information…and I’d like to find out who it is,” McManus said.

Members Judy Justice, Stephanie Walker, and Pete Wildeboer agreed. They argued, for example, that one of the issues with the district’s high school calendar was ending the first semester in January.

Central Office staff said state law makes changing the calendar difficult, and that ending the first semester earlier would cause an imbalance in instructional hours between the two semesters. Chair Stephanie Kraybill also said this would force teachers to rearrange their schedules.

“It is very callous of us and not taking into account what our teachers have already done,” Kraybill said.

The board will have a special meeting to review the current calendar and is in the process of setting a date.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.