House and Senate negotiators have put together a draft proposal to give relief to Kentucky school districts struggling to make up lost days this winter.
The proposal would let districts extend school days to a maximum seven hours daily. The goal is to give districts scheduling flexibility to reach the required 1,062 instructional hours in a school year.
For districts unable to reach that threshold, the school year would automatically end June 11.
Democratic Rep. John Will Stacy and Republican Sen. Mike Wilson say the proposal will be presented to lawmakers Monday to get feedback.
Stacy says the proposal is a "middle ground" giving school employees and parents some certainty about the end of the school year.
Some districts have missed more than 30 days due to snow and ice.
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.
Kentucky public school students would not have to make up as many as 10 canceled school days under a proposal in the House budget.
State law requires public schools to have a minimum of 170 days and 1,062 hours of classroom instruction. But 31 of the state's 173 school districts have missed at least 20 days because of snow and ice, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Lawrence County School District in eastern Kentucky was one of the hardest hit. Superintendent Mike Armstrong said the district has missed 32 days so far. In January, students were in school just five days.
House lawmakers are considering a separate bill that would let school districts lengthen the school day to make up missed time because of an emergency.
A check of school districts in our listening area reveals Warren and Hardin County schools have missed 13 days a piece, while Daviess County schools have missed 14 full days.
Although the weather in Kentucky in recent days seems far removed from the snow and ice of winter, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is preparing for the weather that's expected to arrive in upcoming months. This year they'll be utilizing some new computer technology to help them treat the roads in an effective manner.