Parents oppose plan for longer school days in Davidson County

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Hundreds of parents showed up to an information session Thursday, in opposition to a new proposal to start the school day 30 minutes earlier for elementary school students.

The proposed changes would give all students who attend Davidson County schools a 7-hour school day.

Elementary school students would have to get to school at 7:30 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m.

Middle and high school students would get to school at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m.

The school district is considering the idea, saying it'll give elementary students more time in class to learn math and reading.

"We're preparing our students for jobs that don't even exist yet," said Superintendent Dr. Lory Morrow.

Many parents at the meeting said elementary school students are too young to handle that many hours in the classroom.

"The question is not the quality of education my child is receiving,” said one parent. “You're talking quantity. Quantity doesn't always solve problems."

An online petition against the proposal has gotten more than 2,000 signatures.

Some parents also said the school system didn't do enough to publicize the proposal or the four community meetings discussing it.

Two of the meetings were canceled due to snow.

"How come you haven't reached out to every parent in Davidson County to let them know?" asked one parent.

Many said they found out through social media and word of mouth.

"Why can't you give us a call?” said another parent. “You woke me up at 5:30 the other morning to tell me that school was closed."

Morrow says the information was up on the school system's website for three weeks.

"They found out through information on the school's website, social media,” she said. “We also worked with local media."

Morrow says the meeting was a good opportunity to get parent feedback.

"The board of education is listening as am I, the superintendent, and our staff," she said.

During the meeting, officials also said under the new plan, the district wouldn’t need as many school buses.

Bus drivers would run routes for the elementary school students as well as secondary school students, according to the proposal.

The board of education is expected to vote on the proposal on Feb. 1.

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