MONROE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – In an emergency session Friday morning, the Union County Board of Education voted to rescind its school calendar that would have defied state law and started school three weeks early.

The school district initially voted 6-3 in December to split with the North Carolina state law that declares when the school year can begin.

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The board felt starting school earlier would give students a longer winter break aligned with community colleges and improve the mental health of the students and teachers.

“This board has nothing to apologize for,” said board member Jimmy Bention Sr. “This board knew what we were voting on when we voted. We voted 9-0.”

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State law requires schools to start no earlier than the Monday closest to Aug. 26. District leaders had voted for the 2023-2024 school year to start on Aug. 9.

Under the change, the school year would have ended on May 22, 2024. Now, students will begin school on Monday, Aug. 28, and end on Friday, June 7.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed against the school board over the decision.

Among those listed in the lawsuit was a horse riding business, which said its business would be heavily impacted by the shift in dates and the ability to hold summer camps adequately. The owner of the business, and others listed in the lawsuit, have children in the school system.

The plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit state that the vote was taken with no public input.

“We are pleased with the decision of the board to respond to the lawsuit and follow the law,” said Mitch Armbruster, an attorney for the plaintiffs.