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FILE PHOTO Students will be back in school in just a few days.

School is starting 19 days earlier than last year.

How? Iredell-Statesville Schools has deviated from the state calendar to better match the Mitchell Community College’s calendar.

ISS spokesperson Boen Nutting said the school system polled students, staff, parents and the community about the change in calendar and the results were overwhelmingly positive.

“We think it’s what’s best for students,” Nutting said.

With this new schedule, the fall semester will end for the Christmas break Dec. 19, so students will no longer have more than a week away from school before having a handful of classes to prepare for and take exams.

Because ISS includes a variety of schools, including an early college program, before the district was allowed to set its own calendar students in the same school system had different schedules. Now, they’re more aligned.

Teachers started prepping schools Aug. 1, and students will start attending school Aug. 8.

In the past, ISS has struggled with state regulation requiring counties to follow a statewide school calendar.

In the case of school calendars, North Carolina Sen. Vickie Sawyer said local school boards should be making those calls. Different counties have different needs, and a statewide school calendar can’t address all of them.

Sawyer said ISS had been open and careful in the process of changing the calendar, communicating well with the community.

 “I’m a big believer that the best governments for the people are those that are closest to the people,” Sawyer said.

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