Wake year-round students will get Election Day and Juneteenth off. Here’s why.

·2 min read

Wake County’s year-round schools will not have classes this school year on Election Day in November or on the federal holiday of Juneteenth.

The Wake County school board on Tuesday approved calendar changes for the 2022-23 school year to make Nov. 8 and June 19 as days off for both students and staff at year-round schools. The board had voted earlier this month to make Election Day a day off for students and staff at the district’s other schools.

Only year-round schools are still in session on June 19. Juneteenth gets it name from how enslaved people in Texas learned on June 19, 1865 that they were now free.

Maliah Bazzell, 6, of Knightdale plays with bubbles during the 2021 Capital City Juneteenth Celebration at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh on June 19, 2021.
Maliah Bazzell, 6, of Knightdale plays with bubbles during the 2021 Capital City Juneteenth Celebration at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh on June 19, 2021.

Election Day concerns

The Election Day change comes as some parents had argued that it was unsafe to have students on campus when thousands of people are voting. As many as 77 Wake County schools, mostly elementary schools, have served as polling sites.

Under state law, local elections boards can demand that any state, county or municipal building — such as a public school — be used as a polling site. The Wake County Board of Elections has asked the school district not to hold classes on Election Day.

Two weeks ago, the school board had held off on approving the calendar changes at the year-round schools because administrators wanted to get additional data.

Figures presented on Tuesday show that 1.5 million people have voted in Wake County schools since November 2018. Year-round schools accounted for 56% of the voters.

School board vice chairman Chris Heagarty said it makes sense to not have classes at year-round schools on Election Day because many are in high-growth areas.

Voters cast their ballots at Precinct 01- 44, Millbrook Elementary School, in Raleigh on Nov. 5, 2014.
Voters cast their ballots at Precinct 01- 44, Millbrook Elementary School, in Raleigh on Nov. 5, 2014.

Using banked days

To cover Election Day and Juneteenth, Wake will use two “banked days” — extra days every school can afford not to make up while still staying above state requirements for hours of instruction. Wake schools have three banked days.

Administrators had previously recommended using one banked day and moving the teacher workday scheduled for Oct. 10.

But administrators said Tuesday that using two banked days will allow them to keep Oct. 10 as a work day for all schools in the district. Administrators also cited how year-round schools can hold classes on Saturday or use remote instruction days if needed.