Beshear will sign snow days bill into law Monday

jcheves@herald-leader.comMarch 28, 2014 

A snowplow cleared North Limestone in Lexington on March 3, 2014.

PHOTO BY PABLO ALCALA | STAFF — Lexington Herald-Leader Buy Photo

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky House on Friday voted 97 to 1 to approve a compromise plan to relieve school districts from making up snow days caused by brutal winter weather.

House Bill 211, passed by the Senate on Thursday, will go to Gov. Steve Beshear Monday, after the Senate completes its paperwork on the bill. Beshear said Friday afternoon that he will sign the bill into law, allowing it to take effect Monday.

"School districts should feel comfortable in proceeding now to plan their calendars based on the content of HB 211," Beshear's office said in a written statement.

The plan would let school districts make June 6 the last day of the academic year. It would urge the districts to reach 1,062 hours of instruction for the year with oversight from state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. The districts could extend the length of their remaining days as long as no school day lasted longer than seven instructional hours. School districts could also hold classes beyond June 6 if they choose.

Some Kentucky school districts canceled more than 30 days of classes this winter because of snow, ice and bitter cold.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he hoped the legislature was not acting too late for most local school superintendents, who are trying to complete their 2013-14 academic calendars and schedule the start of summer vacations.

"It would have been nice if we could have gotten them something sooner," said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

The legislature needs to craft a long-term solution for school districts that cancel classes because of severe weather rather than continuing to cobble together relief plans every few years, Stumbo said.

John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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