FRANKFORT — With his schools already out for 28 days with the flu and snow and nearly another month of winter to go, Breathitt County Superintendent Arch Turner is looking for relief to schedule make-up days.
That relief could come in a bill introduced this week in the state legislature.
House Bill 487, sponsored by Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Jeffersonville, would allow local boards of education to ask state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday by May 1 to waive up to 10 days in districts that have missed 20 or more days.
School personnel would have to make up any days waived by participating in instructional activities or professional development or by being assigned additional work.
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"This is so their pay would not be changed," Henderson said.
The lawmaker said his bill will "give relief to our school systems that have been hit hard by the H1N1 flu virus and heavy snows.
"It is has been severe in Eastern Kentucky."
He noted that Powell County has missed 26 days, Knott County 25 and Wolfe County 23.
Spokeswoman Lisa Gross said the state Department of Education prefers that school districts provide at least the minimum amount of instructional time as required by law — 177 days.
"However, we must follow legislative mandates and will do so if those are passed," she said.
Turner said his schools "have done everything in their power not to lose instructional time — starting the first of August, shortening spring break and so on — but we still will be in school in June."
Breathitt County schools missed 30 days last year, Turner said.
Nearly 40 percent of Kentucky's school districts last year asked the state under a bill approved in the 2009 General Assembly to let them waive as many as 10 makeup days for time lost during an ice storm in January and winds from Hurricane Ike in September 2008.