Friday, March 30, 2007


A University of North Carolina study commission has recommended that the system not convert private North Carolina Wesleyan College into the state's 17th public university. The study found that such a conversion would probably cost $207 million over seven years. UNC President Erskine Bowles also said members of the study commission worried that it may be difficult to attract students and faculty members to the school.

The House has agreed to push back the cutoff date for children to enter kindergarten by 2 1/2 months (House Bill 150). The existing law allows children who turn 5 years old by Oct. 16 to enter kindergarten that same year. The provision would set the cut off at Aug. 31 starting with the 2009-10 school year. The adjustment would delay the start of school for 15,360 children in the first year, legislative researchers said. Only seven states had cutoff entrance dates later than North Carolina, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The House Education Committee approved House Bill 359 Thursday that would give school systems more flexibility with their calendars. The state's school administrators and most teachers supported the bill, but the tourism industry opposed the change since it would practically reverse a law passed in 2004. That law bars schools from opening before Aug. 25 unless they get waivers for educational purposes or to allow them to plan for time that would be missed because of bad weather. The new proposal would allow entire school districts to start before Aug. 25 for educational purposes. During a nearly three-hour hearing at the Legislature on Wednesday, parents, teachers, students, and others spoke out about the proposal. Some argue that the calendar requirements make it difficult for high school students to take community college courses. Others contend students need time off in late August to work and to take family vacations.

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