FRANKFORT — The General Assembly is sending legislation to the governor that would require the state to waive snow days that school districts are unable to make up. House Bill 111 received final passage on a vote in the House of 95-3.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Linda Belcher, D-Shepherdsville, started as a measure to require public schools to post the state’s child abuse hotline number. It was amended to also include snow day provisions.
School districts impacted by snow or other school calendar-altering events are required to work with the state to meet all 1,062 required annual instructional hours, if at all possible, by June 5. If the district attempts to meet all required hours and cannot, the state would be obligated under HB 111 to waive any hours that remain.
House Education Committee Chair Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, said the snow day waiver provisions in HB 111 are the same as those approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in previous sessions.
“The bill is the exact same language that we have used for the past two years when we’ve added these snow days. The exact same language—nothing has changed,” Graham said when asked by Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, how many snow days could be waived under the bill.
Koenig, one of the three members voting against HB 111, said state law requires scheduling of 177 instructional days but the snow day waivers let lawmakers “give away 10 days every single year on this floor.”
“At some point we need to reevaluate this entire system because we keep giving away 10 days every single year and our kids are getting shortchanged,” said Koenig.
Graham said many school districts today have procedures in place that require students to do school work from home on snow days.
“So it’s not like they’re home and out playing around. Many of them are at working from within their home to complete their assignments, and that’s becoming more and more commonplace around the Commonwealth,” said Graham.
HB 111 now goes to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.