Wake cancels school on primary Election Day
Wake County students will get March 5 off from school, following a vote by the Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday night.
Dozens of schools will serve as voting sites on Election Day and have to be open to voters and volunteers. Schools typically try to keep all doors locked to outsiders. Political parties will hold primaries on March 5. The vote also converts March 5 into a teacher workday.
The board approved the change by a vote of 7-1. Board Member Wing Ng said he was concerned about leaving schools with only two days they could use to cancel school in the case of inclement weather. Board Member Cheryl Caulfield was absent.
Board members voted on the proposal the same day they introduced the proposal. The board typically proposes changes days or weeks before voting on them but did not in this case, giving families more time to plan for schools to be closed that day.
But less than two months’ notice before the day off is still short in some board members’ minds, including those who voted for it.
“This is going to be quite a shift” for families and educators, Board Vice Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler said.
Board Member Tyler Swanson said he didn’t like that the calendar change wasn’t set earlier.
But he said he understands safety concerns and the protocols schools have to keep schools safe.
The school system hasn’t had incidents on election days in the past, said Glenn Carrozza, district assistant superintendent for school Choice, planning and assignment.
But that’s not an excuse to not take precautions, Swanson said.
The school board gave students Election Day off in November 2022, following a push from district parents concerned about strangers walking through school buildings during the school day.
The board has already set its calendar for next school year to give Election Day off in November.
But the board didn’t close schools on primary Election Day when it approved this year’s calendar.
Most schools have three banked days already embedded in their calendars. That means students were scheduled to attend school for more days than the minimum that’s legally required. Canceling school on March 5 leaves most schools with two banked days left. They can use those if inclement weather forces schools to close.