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News Macon County Schools now eligible for weather waiver

Data entered correctly earlier this year

Due to an error made earlier this year by the North Carolina Department of Instruction (DPI), Macon County is now eligible to receive a weather waiver for the 2012- 2013 academic year.

According to Andrew Cox, Section Chief School Reporting for the DPI, the data for Macon County was not correctly entered into the state’s spreadsheet to determine eligibility for an LEA Based Calendar Waiver for Weather Related Causes.

Originally, the law stated that in order to be eligible for the waiver a school district had to have missed eight calendar days in any four of the last 10 years because of severe weather conditions, energy shortages, power failure or emergency situations.

Under that law, Macon County missed 13 days during the the 2010-2011 academic year, but before that, the most school days missed in a year were five (2008-2009), which is why the county has not qualified for the waiver previously.

In June of 2010, the State Board of Education approved an amendment to law which states if: “Schools in any local school administrative unit in county have been closed for all or part [emphasis added] of eight days per year during any four of the last 10 years because of severe weather conditions. For purposes of this subdivision, a school shall be deemed to be closed for part of a day if it is closed for two or more hours.”

The amendment to the law allows two hour delays or half days due to weather conditions, to be considered when applying for eligibility for the waiver.

After Cox notified Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman of DPI’s error, Brigman informed the members of the Board of Education.

“I got the board’s approval to go ahead and apply for the waiver for the 2012-2013 school year,” said Brigman. “I have applied for it, so now we wait for it to get approved. In the meantime, I am relying heavily on the recommendations of the calendar committee, which is comprised of various stake holders in the community, to complete the calendar for next school year.”

Cox stated that DPI became aware of the changes a couple of weeks ago after being contacted by Dr. Brigman. “We were asked to go back and look at our data and double check a few days and that’s when we found that there was a computer error,” said Cox. “Macon County can now apply for the waiver, which can be approved as early as February if needed.”

If the Macon County school district receives the weather waiver for next year, students can anticipate another early start date to the school year.

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