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March 31, 2014

Lawmakers compromise on snow day bill

Schools will not be required to operate past June 6

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —

Frankfort – They don’t have an agreement on the new, two-year state budget, but lawmakers appear to have worked out their differences on the most-watched issue before them – how schools can make up missed snow days.

Wednesday night, a committee of House and Senate negotiators reached a compromise which still must be approved by both the full House and Senate on Thursday.

Under provisions of the tentative agreement worked out Wednesday evening, 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.  Those districts which do not have any schools used as polling locations may also operate on primary Election Day on May 20.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday will work with districts, advising them on the best ways for each district 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 like.

Kay Kennedy, director of district support for the Kentucky Department of Education, told the conference committee that some districts already have tentatively altered their school calendars to go to school through June 10.

Senate Education Chairman Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, said that’s fine so long as it’s the school’s choice.

And districts may hold graduation ceremonies before the official close of school if they’re already scheduled. It’s not unusual for graduates to receive blank diplomas pending receipt of final grades.

The number of missed days varies widely among school districts which are supposed to “build in” a number of extra days for bad weather based on the highest number of missed days in any given year during the past five years. Nevertheless, at least 10 districts have missed more than 30 days this year.

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The 1971 T.C. Williams football team became famous thanks to the movie, “Remember the Titans.” Three of the original players will speak at this year’s North Laurel Football Banquet.

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