One month until students return to school

Published 4:33 pm Monday, July 23, 2012

Families in Polk County and Landrum will check off items on supply lists over the next month as they prep for the start of another school year.
Landrum schools return to the classroom Aug. 20, while Polk students now know they will return Aug. 27 and remain in school until June 7. Landrum schools will end their year May 31.
The length of Polk County’s school year had been in question until late June, when the school board voted to revert to a 180-day calendar. Last school year, the system had added an additional three days to its calendar per a state mandate that was expected to eventually require students to be in classes a total of 185 days each year.
Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said the back and forth has been confusing for local school leaders and parents.
“We were under the impression last year that by this year the state would have put the money in place to go all five days,” Miller said, explaining why students went an additional three days last year.
He said the hope was to slowly ease faculty and families into the longer calendar.
“Unfortunately they didn’t provide the funds and left us wondering what to do next,” he said.
So, Polk County Schools will again attend school 180 days this year, with students’ last day being a half-day on June 7.
Miller said the only caveat is that the calendar has only two to three days built in for weather related cancelations. If the area sees another mild winter like this past year the schedule will remain in place, but if school days must be canceled because of excessive bad weather, it will put the system into a longer year, Miller said.
This calendar also allows eight school days off for students during Christmas break and splits spring break away from Easter because Easter falls early next year. Spring break is scheduled April 22-26 this coming school year.
Spartanburg County Schools’ students will attend school 180 days as well. That system will hold spring break April 1-5.
Meanwhile, North Carolina school administrators will spend another year trying to determine how to work with state legislators’ desire to have kids in classrooms more hours.
At the end of its recent legislative session, North Carolina approved allowing school systems in the state to decide between keeping kids in school either 185 days or 1,025 total hours.
Miller said this issue only complicates matters further.
“That really is bad business – it’s going to make it very complicated because you are going to have a lot of opinions as to how many days students should go,” Miller said. “In Polk we try to put a lot of emphasis on instructional time anyway, so we could potentially fit those hours into many fewer days… but [fewer days] would make things harder on parents who already struggle to find childcare in the summer.”
To view the full calendar for Polk County schools, visit To see Spartanburg County School System’s calendar, visit

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