Spring break in jeopardy at some Central Kentucky school districts

State Waiver would not Help Central Ky.

jwarren@herald-leader.comMarch 2, 2010 

Spring break will be short for some Central Kentucky students this year as area schools scramble to make up days lost to snow.

Most area school districts don't plan to touch spring break — a time when many families plan well in advance to take weeklong vacations. Fayette County, for example, won't use any of its spring break — March 29 to April 2 — to make up missed days. Instead, the school year will end on June 3 rather than May 26 as originally planned.

But several districts — including Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties and Burgin and Frankfort independents — plan to use part of their spring breaks or are considering doing so.

Bobbie Jean Ball, director of pupil personnel for Garrard County Schools, says it is rare to use spring break to make up lost days. The district has missed 10 days because of weather.

"I cannot even tell you when we last took part of spring break," Ball said Monday. She said, however, that the Garrard County Board of Education is expected next week to approve the use of April 5, 6 and 7 — which would have been part of spring break — as makeup days. The district already has decided to use April 2, which was to have been the first day of spring break.

If the school board decides to take away the three days, Garrard County's shortened break will be April 8 to 11, including Saturday and Sunday.

None of the Central Kentucky districts approaches the 20 missed days needed to qualify for a possible waiver.

Most Eastern Kentucky districts have missed more than 20 days and are hoping for passage of House Bill 487, pending in the General Assembly. It would allow waiving 10 of the missed days.

But Central Kentucky school officials know they won't get such a break.

Most plan to add the makeup days to the end of the school year in late May and, in some cases, June.

Central Kentucky school districts planning to protect spring break include Bourbon, Clark, Franklin, Harrison, Jessamine, Madison and Woodford counties, and Paris Independent.

Scott County has missed 12 days, but the school board hasn't decided how to make them up, pupil personnel director Rob Stafford said.

Bourbon County Superintendent Lana Fryman said her district never cuts spring break. Many families already have made plans, she noted. "To take that away from them is unfair," Fryman said. The district has missed 10 days.

Franklin County Superintendent Harrie Buecker sent an e-mail Friday announcing that the district wouldn't curtail spring break to make up its missed days. The district will add days instead, pushing the end of school to June 9. Buecker said she wanted get the word out about spring break so families could "proceed with your plans."

Frankfort Independent Schools officials say they will use the first five days of their planned March 15 through April 2 spring break to make up all the five snow days the district has missed. Frankfort is one of the districts that includes time during its two-week spring break to make up snow days if necessary.

Burgin will take three days of its break —March 29, 30 and 31 — as makeup days, pupil personnel pirector Lois Short said. Lincoln County has similar plans.

Burgin usually sets aside two weeks for spring break on the assumption that it will need some of the time for makeup days, Short said.

Ball, the Garrard County pupil personnel director, said her district will add some days at the end of the school year even if it does cut into spring break. Officials try to balance student needs with people's desire for some time off after the long winter, she said.

"The way we look at it as administrators, instruction will be more valuable to our students in April than in June," Ball said.

Reach Jim Warren at (850) 231-3255 or 1-800-950-6397 Ext. 3255. Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at (502) 867-1354.

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