Thursday, March 13, 2003

Schools making up lost days by adding minutes

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

A bill passed this week by the Kentucky legislature gives school districts a chance to shorten their school year because of snow, but there may be no takers in Northern Kentucky.

A house amendment to Senate Bill 132 orders the Department of Education to approve five "disaster days" for any schools that have missed 10 or more days this year.

By declaring a disaster day, a school would not be required to make that day up.

Schools throughout the state's 176 districts, including some in Northern Kentucky, have missed high numbers of days this year because of snow, ice, and illness.

"This issue comes up almost every general session we have, but this has been a particularly rough year on the school districts," said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education.

The new bill would affect three local districts - Campbell County, Kenton County, and Walton-Verona.

Walton-Verona has missed 17 days this year, with one made up already. Students will also go to school March 7 and April 18, originally scheduled as days off.

Despite what Superintendent Bob Storer calls the worst year in the last 20 years for days missed, his district plans on making up all the time.

"I don't think taking those (disaster) days will fit into our plans," said Storer. "Since Feb. 25th, we've added 20 minutes to the end of each day and captured another five minutes during the day. Our last day of school will be May 30th."

In Campbell County, students have missed 11 days. Five will be made up from March 24-28, one of two weeks scheduled for spring break. The rest are being made up through additional minutes added to each day.

"We haven't decided what to do regarding (the disaster days)," said Melissa Pryor, director of school and community relations for Campbell County Schools. "Right now we're focused on using every minute of instruction we can."

Schools are required to have 1,050 instructional hours throughout the year. Teachers must accumulate 185 in-service days each year.

In Kenton County, the district has missed 10 days. The district has added 30 minutes to each school day and will be in session until June 12.

As of today, that plan is still in effect.

The superintendent's office in Kenton County had no one available for comment.

How districts are making up time
DistrictDays missedMakeup plan
Beechwood3Make up one day April 18
Boone9Days extended by 30 minutes
Campbell County11Days added during spring break and extended 3-20 minutes
Covington1One day added to end of year
Dayton2Two days added to end of year
Erlanger-Elsmere3Three days added to end of year
Fort Thomas2 Make up two days April 18 and June 6
Kenton10Days extended by 30 minutes
Ludlow 2Two days added to end of year
Newport1 N/A
Silver Grove3One day added to end of year
Southgate3Make up one day March 10
Walton-Verona17Days added

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