CMS cancels extending year for K-8 students

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District suddenly canceled an extension to the school year for students in all K-8 schools.

An email was sent to cafeteria managers who work in K-8 schools Wednesday morning informing them that an executive decision had been made. It instructed them to work an extra five days after the end of the regular school year. The email told them instead of their last day on June 8, they will work until June 15.

Some were confused by the letter and thought the district may be breaking the law. NC law states schools should end no later than the Friday closest to June 11.

"I called the superintendent's office and said, 'I want to know - are you going to extend the school year? And if so, what authority?'" NC Representative Craig Horn said. "The response was 'No.'"

Horn was alerted by the email and wanted to get answers. We are told the thinking behind the extension was for kids in 3rd through 8th grades who failed their End of Grade tests. The extra week would be for them to get the help needed and to retake the test.

The state lawmaker says the state does allow that provision.

"The Board of Education, the Superintendent, the legislators are certainly willing to help those kids - give them every opportunity to succeed," Horn said.

The problem is the email with the executive order didn't go into details, and people who read the letter were confused.

One day after the email was sent, CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox sent staff a letter stating no extension was happening.

"At the end of the day, I do not believe we can overcome staffing issues and logistical challenges and provide real and focused enrichment instruction. Nor do we have reliable and accurate cost estimates by which we can state a true cost/benefit case in considering gains against lost opportunities in the time between now and the end of the school year."

CMS says the superintendent wanted to hear from principals first before making a decision. The district says Wilcox decided there were more cons than pros with implementing an extension, that's why it was canceled.

School officials said that the executive decision didn't come from the superintendent. CMS officials told WBTV they're trying to figure out what happened and why an employee would send out the email.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.