KCS cancels classes for students on May 16, 2018

KCS cancels classes for students on May 16, 2018
Posted on 05/09/2018
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The Kannapolis City Board of Education has voted to make Wednesday, May 16th an optional teacher workday in Kannapolis City Schools. Students will not be in school on that day. The board made the decision after 171 teachers in the district, more than 40%, requested to take personal leave on May 16th in order to support a rally for public education in the state capital on May 16th.


Superintendent, Dr. Chip Buckwell, made the recommendation to declare May 16th an optional teacher work day after weighing all the options. “We very much value instructional time,” Buckwell said, “but our first priority is always student safety. We know that cancelling school on May 16th takes away an instructional day for students, and we tried very hard to avoid that. We also know the closing will negatively affect families and our hourly staff members in KCS, and we wish there was a better option. But, after looking at all the options, we didn’t think there was any way we could cover so many classrooms without compromising the best interest of our students. Our kids have to be safe, and we have to have enough qualified adults in place to hold school. With so many educators across the region taking personal leave at the same time, there literally aren’t enough approved substitutes available or enough other staff members to make sure we have classrooms covered.”


The school day missed on May 16th will not have to be made up in Kannapolis City Schools because the district has enough hours built into the school calendar.


The reason for the teacher absences on May 16th is a rally for public education that will take place in Raleigh on that date. Thousands of educators across North Carolina are expected to attend the May 16th rally, which will take place the same day the NC Legislature begins its session in the state capital. Among the actions lawmakers will take during their session is to adjust the budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which includes funding for education.


In order to attend the rally, thousands of educators across the state submitted a request to take a day of personal leave. Under North Carolina law, teachers have the right to take a day of personal leave as long as they request the leave at least five days in advance and pay $50 toward the cost of a substitute. With so many teachers requesting personal leave on May 16th, many school districts have cancelled classes for May 16th because there are not enough available substitutes to cover the absences.


In school districts like KCS that have made May 16th a teacher work day, teachers who are absent on May 16th will now be able to use annual leave instead of personal leave because students will not be in school. As a result, teachers will not have to pay the $50 cost of a substitute.


During the May 16th rally, educators are expected to encourage legislators to support funding for public education and teacher pay. Adjusted for inflation, the amount of education funding per student in North Carolina has dropped by more than 10% in the last ten years. In addition, funding since 2008 has been slashed for teacher assistants, counselors, assistant principals, librarians, technology, text books, and other educational resources.


Superintendent, Dr. Chip Buckwell, says showing support for public education is extremely important. “While we wish we could avoid cancelling school on May 16th, we fully respect the desire of our staff members to advocate for public education. According to the Economic Policy Institute, teacher pay in North Carolina is just 65% of other college educated professionals, and the drop in per pupil funding over the years has cost Kannapolis City Schools millions of dollars that could have been used to provide additional teachers, counselors, and teacher assistants as well as more curriculum support and classroom supplies. In addition, the 6.5% average pay raise promised to teachers for the 2018-19 school year does not cover all teachers at all experience levels. Our most experienced teachers keep getting left out of pay increases. It’s important to give our children and teachers what they need long-term to keep our state growing and strong.”

Despite the optional teacher workday on May 16th, KCS will give the Advanced Placement exam that was scheduled for May 16th at A.L. Brown High School. The College Board sets the nationwide dates when AP exams will be given, and there is an additional cost if the tests have to be rescheduled.  For that reason, and because the test was only scheduled to be given to a small number of A.L. Brown students, KCS will be able to administer the test and provide bus transportation to those students. 


The Kannapolis branch of the YMCA is offering free and low-cost child care options for KCS families on Wednesday, May 16th. Complete details are available by using this link


Classes will resume in KCS on a normal schedule on Thursday, May 17th.



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