UPDATE: Carteret Co. school system responds to lawsuit filed over fall start date

CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Three business owners who are also parents in one Eastern Carolina county are taking their school board to court over just when school should start this fall.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Carteret County.

It claims the Carteret County School Board voted to start classes on August 13th, despite a state law that sets August 26th as the earliest start date.

“Local boards of education are not free to pick and choose which educational laws they want to follow,” says the lawsuit.

Carteret County Schools Lawsuit by WITN on Scribd

The suit was brought by parents and a grandparent who have children in the school system, who are also business owners.

Last year, Union County changed its school calendar back to comply with state law after the same attorney sued their school board.

Late this afternoon, Carteret County Schools released a lengthy statement saying the school calendar law does not treat traditional public schools equally to charter schools, innovative high schools, and private schools that receive state voucher money who aren’t covered by the law.

“The exemptions from the school calendar law for non-traditional schools have so skewed the playing field, the school calendar law has become a vehicle for unequal opportunity for our students, and it must yield in the face of the State constitution,” said the school system. “We will strongly defend our 2024-2025 calendar in court.”

The school system said it changed the start date to align its calendars with the community college, and to balance the instructional calendar, and allow students to take exams before the winter break.