The Richmond Register

Education

March 28, 2014

Lawmakers finally agree on snow days

FRANKFORT — Kentucky school officials, parents and students finally have what they’ve been asking for: A bill to allow them to get out of school before the summer fully sets in, even if they don’t make up some of the days they missed during the severe winter.

The House on Friday passed a compromise measure worked out with the Senate. The vote was 97-1 with two members passing. The Senate had passed the measure Thursday.

The bill includes an emergency clause, which makes it effective as soon as Gov. Steve Beshear signs it, but because of a parliamentary technicality, that won’t happen until Monday.

Although both chambers passed the measure, the Senate had adjourned before the House completed its work Friday and there wasn’t an opportunity to get the bill back to the Senate so it could be enrolled.

But most school officials are already aware of the bill’s provisions and Beshear said he expects to sign the bill Monday.

Under the bill’s provisions, school districts must do everything they can to attain the 1,062 hours of instruction for the school year, which is mandated by law.

The only limitation is that districts cannot extend the school day beyond seven hours. Districts which do not have any schools used as polling locations may also operate on primary election day, May 20.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday will work with districts, advising them on the best ways for each to reach that goal by June 6.

But if Holliday and the school district are still unable to get in the 1,062 hours in a school district, the school cannot be required to operate past June 6. But some districts may choose to go longer if they want.

Some districts already have tentatively altered their school calendars to go to school through June 10 and are free to keep to that calendar. But no district is required to attend school beyond June 6.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort

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