Henderson Schools’ Risky Early Start Proposal Raises Law Concerns



Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) officials are considering defying North Carolina state law for the second year by starting the 2024-25 school year on August 12, two weeks prior to the legally mandated start date. The draft schedule, which was approved by representatives from all 23 schools in the county, also included a Christmas holiday beginning December 20, spring break from March 17-21, and the last day of school on May 23. Despite negative feedback in the previous year, HCPS Superintendent Mark Garrett reported only positive feedback from the early start in 2023, while one board member, Kathy Revis, stated she would not vote for the calendar as it contradicts state law.

Henderson County Schools Aim to Defy State Law Again with Early Start

In 2023, Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS), North Carolina, disregarded state law by commencing the school year two weeks earlier. Now, they plan on repeating the act for the 2024-25 academic year.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, HCPS Chief Administrative Officer Carl Taylor unveiled a draft of the proposed academic calendar. It had the first day of school set on Aug. 12, contradicting state law’s stipulation of a start no earlier than the closest Monday to Aug. 26, 2024.

Henderson County Public Schools office in Hendersonville

“Our calendar committee and the general feedback from schools have all favored an early start date for the traditional calendar,” Taylor stated.

Related: Mike Edney’s Efforts to Amend NC’s School Start Date Law

The proposed calendar shows the Christmas break starting Dec. 20, with students returning on Jan. 6. Spring break would be March 17-21, and the academic year would conclude on May 23.

Board Chair Blair Craven affirmed that representatives from all 23 county schools approved the early-start 2024-25 calendar. Craven stated, “Every single person agreed that they loved the calendar we have this year and they want to see it go forward.”

Related: North Henderson Student Wins National Essay Contest

HCPS Superintendent, Mark Garrett, reported positive feedback from students, parents, and the public about the early start in 2023.

Last year, the school board saw a 4-3 split vote on starting the 2023-24 school year early.

Related: Henderson County Resource Officer Wins National Award

Board member Kathy Revis expressed understanding for the calendar but refused to vote for it due to its violation of state law. She queried if parents had input in the process. Garrett assured that the parent advisory committee had been consulted and that they echoed the preference for an early start.

The school board will finalize the decision on Jan. 8 at their next meeting.

Read More US News; North Carolina News