Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

March 5, 2014

Districts should get relief for missed days

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — This winter in southcentral Kentucky has not been kind to many school districts, which are now facing significant decisions regarding the remainder of their academic calendars. Potentially at risk are spring break dates, particularly in the largely rural districts that have missed more than a dozen instructional days due to weather conditions.

We hope, however, that serious consideration is given in the General Assembly to a proposal that would provide some relief and flexibility as school boards delve into scheduling in the coming days. House Bill 410 would call for the commissioner of education to grant requests from school boards to waive up to 10 classroom days that were missed due to emergency situations. If signed into law, the bill would help districts protect long-scheduled spring break dates – and, by extension, protect families who might have already made financial plans or personal commitments during those weeks.

Similarly, it’s just as problematic to add perhaps three weeks or more to the end of a previously established school calendar. While most families expect the school year to actually end a few days after the originally scheduled final day of class, there is a point at which extending the year begins to wreak havoc on summer jobs, vacations, childcare needs and parents’ work obligations.

The sooner the General Assembly acts on HB 410, the better. Parents, students and employers need to know as soon as possible what to expect as summer approaches, and school administrators need to know the lay of the land as they map out the rest of the year.

Mother Nature is uncontrollable, but Kentucky legislators have before them an opportunity to put some control back into the hands of the school districts. We hope the General Assembly recognizes the value in moving quickly on this measure.