Wake County Schools to use part of spring break for snow makeup days

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County School leaders came short of apologizing, but reached a compromise with teachers, parents, and students upset make-up days for recent snow storms are scheduled during spring break.

"We really worked earnestly," said Wake Schools Board Chair Christine Kushner during a news conference Monday. "We've worked really hard to do what's best for the entire system and to do what's best for instructional time that we have left in the year."

District officials scheduled the make-up days for March 23-25, the first three days of the district's spring break.

School leaders also announced Monday that students and staff will not get penalized for missing those days. Teachers will not be punished for missing work. Also, seniors with exam exemptions will not have their status changed if they miss classes.

"I'm trusting the staff close to principals or close to the school-level. I'm trusting them to make the best choices for instruction, and I also trust parents to make the best decisions for their families when it comes to spring break," said Kushner.

The decision to cut into spring break came Saturday, after the district tweeted earlier that make-up days would not affect vacation time. Deputy Superintendent of School Performance Cathy Moore said school leaders were only in the preliminary stages of planning when they announced they would use two Saturdays and Good Friday as make-up days instead.

"What we found was that in order to make good choices about which Saturdays to use we were being very restricted in our options," Moore explained.

Backlash from the change of heart prompted a Millbrook High School senior to create an online petition begging the district to "Save Spring Break". Thousands have signed it so far.

"I will readily say that we need to take a look at both our processes and our messaging to make sure that we're providing greater level of consistency for our families," said Moore.

The district's traditional calendar is created two years in advance. Kushner said she and the school board will review next year's make-up days which are already listed.

"We will need to look at the process. We'll certainly be revisiting the '15 - '16 school year calendar and making sure that we release it in a way that has clarity," said Kushner.

Click here for the complete make-up schedule.

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