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The Iredell-Statesville Schools will not follow the Mooresville Graded School District’s lead and cancel classes May 1, according to a statement from the ISS Board of Education Tuesday.

The statement also stopped short of ensuring that all teachers who ask for time off to attend an N.C. Association of Educators rally in Raleigh that day will have their requests approved.

“We as a Board of Education will grant teachers the day off from work to attend the rally, if properly requested according to school system policy, provided that adequate coverage is available for their classrooms,” the board said in its statement. “Our primary responsibility is the education of our students.”

ISS did close last May 1 when a large number of teachers asked for the day off to attend a similar rally in Raleigh, a decision that fed into discord between school board members and county commissioners as they contemplated a referendum for a quarter-cent sales increase and deliberated over what percentage of the new revenue would be exclusively dedicated to education.

Voters ultimately defeated the proposed tax hike in November.

On Tuesday, the ISS board said it supports every citizen’s right “to petition his or her government” but opposed closing May 1.

“May is a critical month to prepare students for end of grade tests,” the board said in its statement. “Closing school during this key time for our students is inappropriate.”

May 1 will be an optional teacher workday for the Mooresville Graded School District, which announced its decision to cancel classes last week.

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