The full House will vote on legislation to allow local school districts to shorten their instructional calendar by up to ten days. The measure is being promoted as a way for schools to deal with a higher-than-normal number of snow days. Dry Ridge Representative Brian Linder says educators in his home community realize it often takes a while for bills to become laws.
“I told them I would bring the urgency that we need to make sure that we get this pushed through as quickly as possible so they can get their schedule figured out,” said Linder.
Bill sponsor John Will Stacey says school districts will not lose state funds, if they opt to reduce their calendars by one to ten days. Still, Richmond Representative Rita Smart has some concerns.
“Is it fair for districts that don’t take as many days that other districts are gonna take those ten days?,” asked Smart.
Smart says she’s also worried about catching students up the next year on missed instruction. Associate Education Commissioner Herin Desai says the State Department would prefer Commissioner Terry Holliday have discretion in approving requests.
“It requires that if the Commissioner is asked to give ten days, he has to give those ten days without any consideration for instruction," said Desai. "Certainly do appreciate the fact that it’s limited to this one year."
Louisville Representative Mary Lou Marzian told her colleagues challenging weather conditions seem to be more common. She cited an ice storm in 2009 along with hurricane and tornado-related storms in 2010. Marzian said year-round school calendars would offer more flexibility to meet the 170 day requirement.