FRANKFORT — A tentative deal has been struck between negotiators in the state Senate and House of Representatives, which will finally give answers to school districts scrambling to figure out how to make up for days lost to this year’s harsh winter storms.
The agreement was made Wednesday night to ignore the typical 170-day threshold established by the Kentucky Department of Education, and instead focus on making sure schools do everything possible to reach the mark of 1,062 instructional hours. This gives Floyd County the authority to continue with the plans established in Monday’s Board of Education meeting to extend the school day by 45 minutes.
Floyd County Superintendent Dr. Henry Webb says that, beginning Monday, March 31, schools will convene 15 minutes early and release 30 minutes later than usual.
“We appreciate the flexibility to be able to add time to the instructional day to get school ending back in May,” Webb said of the bill.
Schools statewide will be forced to cancel spring break and school holidays as a first resort. Floyd County’s Board of Education already voted to eliminate spring break, which was planned for April 2-4.
Should a school district still come up short of 1,062 instructional hours, even after employing every measure to do so, the legislature’s agreement would establish June 6 as the final day of classes. This sits squarely in the middle of the House’s original offering of June 1 and the Senate’s plan aiming for June 13.
Floyd County’s plan to extend the school day by 45 minutes gets them to the 1,062 hour target by May 29 in all but three area schools. Allen Central High School and Betsy Layne Elementary would have to stay in session until May 30, and McDowell Elementary would likely still have to convene on the following Monday, June 2.
The plan faces a vote in the legislature and approval by Gov. Steve Beshear, but the Kentucky Department of Education has already given approval to Floyd County’s plan.
“There is more to getting school ended early than just a lengthy summer vacation for students and teachers, says Supt. Webb. “We have teachers that take summer classes, kids that go summer camps, athletics, academic camps, and the Governor’s Scholars program. It’s a whole lot of issues, not just trying to get people out of school.”