by Justin Vick

MOORESVILLE – The Mooresville Graded School District has revised its 2011-12 calendar to ensure that inclement weather won’t put a damper on spring break.

The school board changed the calendar three ways:

• Added a statement that gives the district the ability to designate any day except Sundays between August and June as a make-up day or teacher workday. “The make-up schedule will be announced as soon as possible after an inclement weather event has ended,” the statement reads. “If a Saturday is used as a make-up day, it shall occur as soon as possible following the missed instructional day.”

• Changed scheduled inclement weather days to regular workdays or annual leave days with no designation. Officials said this gives more flexibility within the calendar and allows school administrators to use Saturdays as make-up days when possible.

• Removed the Early Release/Staff Development Day on April 25, 2012. Officials said the day falls in the end-of-grade testing window, a time when full days are needed for testing.

“We believe these recommendations will give us greater flexibility in a calendar that has very limited flexibility given the current legislation,” said Stephen Mauney, the district’s operations director.

The revisions come months after snow and ice storms closed school for several days and threatened spring break as administrators were running out of designated make-up days. Following feedback from school staff and a parent advisory committee in January, the district designated Jan. 29 as a make-up day to keep this year’s spring break intact. The district also decided to make up future inclement weather days for this year on Saturdays.

State lawmakers have discussed giving school districts more calendar flexibility. While the law prevents public schools from starting before Aug. 25, House Bill 94 would let districts begin the year as early as Aug. 15. The bill was approved on first reading on Feb. 16 but has been stuck in committee since.

Some districts, like Iredell Statesville Schools, approved two calendars – one calendar applicable to the current law and another that would override that if legislators let school districts begin the school year earlier than Aug. 25. As the bill stalled, Iredell-Statesville Schools gave up on the revised calendar.

“At this point, we don’t see indications that control would be returned to localities,” Edwards said. “I know there’s been a lot of commentary that the best decisions are made close to students. I would certainly advocate that. Local control of the calendar makes a lot of sense.”

Edwards said he hopes they’ll be able to talk about significant changes to the calendar next year.

The 2011-12 calendar still starts on Aug. 25 and ends June 8, and offers two full weeks for winter break and one full week for spring break.