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Snow days affect school calendars

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Local districs have varying plans to account for lost days

By Leslie Moore

 

Despite nine days missed for snow, Taylor County High School seniors are expected to graduate on time, Friday, May 23.

Superintendent Roger Cook sent a survey to students' parents this week to get their opinions on how the nine missed days and possibly more should be addressed.

Roughly 80 percent of respondents favored students attending school on President's Day on Monday and the first Friday of spring, April 4, instead of changing the graduation date.

Taylor County School Board members discussed the options at their regular meeting on Tuesday. Cook said changing the graduation date isn't a big deal, but announcements have already been sent and relatives from out-of-town likely have already made plans.

Board members voted for school to be in session on Feb. 17, and if the district misses more days, for the students to also attend on April 4. Because in previous years the district has canceled school for snow as late as April, Cook said this is a likely scenario.

However, for those students who have already planned to travel for spring break on April 4, their absences will be excused.

Starting this week, the District is ending early-release Fridays for the remainder of the year. This will account for four snow days.

Cook said he is against cutting into the full week of spring break because he knows attendance would likely be low.

"Anytime our attendance falls below 90 percent, this district is losing money," Cook said. "If we get down to 88, 89 percent attendance, we're spending more money paying teachers' salaries, bus drivers, food and everything than we're getting back from the state."

According to Cook, regulations set by the state mandate that all 1,060 hours of instruction must be completed before a graduation ceremony can take place, and therefore, scheduling make-up days after graduation is not an option.

"It used to be back in the old days that you had to go to school so many days; now you have to go so many hours," Cook said.

The district also had six additional hours banked so the one-hour delays will not have to be made up.

The snow days might also affect the district's usual policy to cancel school if the flu causes attendance to drop below 90 percent.

"If we have flu this year, we're probably going to keep going, just take the loss, I guess," Cook said.

Across town at Campbellsville Independent Schools, Superintendent Mike Deaton said his District's seven snow days will be made up by adding another day to the calendar. Early release Fridays will be eliminated after students return from spring break in order to gain instructional time.

"We would also need to add another day to our calendar on May 21," Deaton said. "That would be our last day for students."

Deaton said there isn't a need to look at moving graduation at this time, but Mother Nature will be responsible for making that decision.

More information about Campbellsville Independent School System's plans appears in a story on today's education page, A7.

Lori Eubank, administrator at Kentucky Christian Academy, said her students have missed six days for snow. Students will attend Monday as a makeup day. Two other snow days have already been made up, she said.

Eubank said Board members will decide how to make up the other three missed days at their meeting on Feb. 24.