2 Johnston County elementary schools begin last year of year-round classes today

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s back to school for more students in our area today.RELATED: Johnston County to end year-round schools

Two year-round schools kick off the new year today in Johnston County. But after this year, the schools move to traditional calendars.

South and West Smithfield Elementary schools are the two schools in the county that offer a year-round calendar.

In March, board member Ronald Johnson became emotional pleading for other board members not to support the change, asking them to trust teachers who say it works.

“Speaking with the teachers who are on the front line of educating our students in these Title I schools, they believe it is helping our students,” Johnson said.

But board members at the time ultimately decided that the schedule isn’t worth the extra expense.

This week, a majority of board members in Johnston County reiterated their belief that it’s not worth the expense when they voted against continuing the year-round calendar.

School officials said that it’s not only costing the district more, but the schools aren’t getting better test scores than the traditional schools.

“Are we getting a return on investment for the approximate $180,000 to $200,000 additional spending each year at those two schools? It is the data-supported opinion of the curriculum and instructional department that we are not,” said Eddie Price, the school system’s chief academic officer, in March.

Advocates of year-round schools say children tend to forget less with shorter breaks.

But students at schools with the traditional calendar in Johnston County did just as well on retention tests as students at the year-round schools.

“It is obvious the intent of the calendar has not come to fruition,” Price said in March.

Teachers and parents at the school are convinced that year-round schooling makes a difference.

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