For example, Phares said, a school district in a region that gets a lot of snow may choose to avoid sending students to class when bad weather is expected.
"It's one of the questions that normally comes up... no matter how many times you say it, but this isn't about year-round school, this is about local counties being able to develop the calendar that best meets their needs," Phares said. "This was not designed with the intent to force everyone to go to year-round school. We want and hope that through these policy hearings the counties have, that those discussions come up and they make a meaningful decision for what's best in their county."
Phares did not say whether he is for or against year-round schools, but said he supports local control.
"I've stated my personal opinion on this and this is how I feel about it: I support the local boards of education making the decision that's best for their county," he said.
Kanawha County Schools will address its calendar plans for the next school year at a board meeting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17.
The county's branch of the West Virginia Education Association has voiced concerns that the early start date imposed this year has negatively impacted both students and teachers.
The district voted to start school this year on Aug. 9 -- the earliest start date ever for Kanawha schools.
The Kanawha County Board of Education has also heard fears from parents that it is planning to implement year-round school, but board members say there are no plans in the near future to move that direction.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.