LUMBERTON — Robeson County’s 23,000 or so school children got some bad news Tuesday from the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education: The school year just got a bit longer.
The board members approved extending the school year three days to June 14 to make up for days lost to Hurricane Florence. Rains, wind and flooding from Hurricane Florence kept schools closed from Sept. 12 to Oct. 9. The North Carolina General Assembly forgave schools of 20 make-up days.
School board members approved the remaining make-up days, which include converting two teacher work days to school days and moving back the end of the first semester to Jan. 31 from Jan. 18.
There was some good news, too.
No holidays will be shortened, and there is enough slack to make up for three possible inclement weather days, said Bobby Locklear, school district Accountability director.
“We’re not the only schools to move the school year back,” Locklear said. “Graduation will be on June 21.”
Locklear and a committee of teachers, principals and administrative staff met to consider schedule revisions. Only half the committee members agreed to the revised schedule.
“Parents will have enough time to make their summer vacation plans,” board Chairman Mike Smith said.
Hurricane Florence caused an estimated $5 million in damages to the schools, said Erica Setzer, Finance director. The district still is waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send reimbursement money to help cover the cost of repairing damages caused by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
“We are in much better shape after Florence than we were after Matthew because of insurance,” Setzer said. “It is much easier to work with insurance companies. What they deny, we will apply to FEMA for reimbursement.”
Another $6 million in promised Hurricane Matthew relief from the Golden LEAF Foundation is pending. Setzer said the schools are working with Golden LEAF and the required paperwork is forthcoming.
In other action on Tuesday, school board members approved the School Improvement Plan.
The school board went into closed session about 7 p.m. and was still in closed session at 9 p.m. The Robesonian had an early deadline because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and will report what action the board too, if any, on robesonian.com and in Friday’s print edition.
Reach Scott Bigelow at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]