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Teachers, education commissioner support different snow makeup day plans

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky's education commissioner and the head of the Jefferson County Teachers' Association support different snow makeup day bills in the General Assembly -- and the final product could be a mix between the two.

Brent McKim, JCTA's president, endorsed the House's version, which would automatically give up to 10 waiver days for any district that applied. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said a Senate plan that required districts make up all of the required hours provided more accountability.

The Senate on Thursday refused to back down from its snow makeup day legislation. House and Senate leaders said they were gathering members for a conference committee to work out the differences between the chambers' bills.

"I think the best proposal short-term," Stumbo said, "is maybe doing our approach now, and then putting in something more definitive, as the Senate wants, for the future."

House members have argued that their bill would give local superintendents quick relief and the most control over their school calendars.

Meanwhile, the Senate's bill would allow superintendents to re-work school schedules as long as they achieve 1,062 hours by the end of the school year. Districts that can't would be able to apply for a hardship waiver, but Holliday could deny the request under the Senate measure.

"The problem is, if they don't hurry up and do something, it won't matter," Holliday said. "Time is running out."

McKim said JTCA members would prefer a blanket waiver, giving Jefferson County Public Schools the ability to waive up to 10 days. The district has missed 11 days because of snow and ice, and has made up five of the days.

Holliday said districts like JCPS should make up their snow days because every lost instructional day hurts student test scores and costs taxpayers $17 million statewide.

"This time next year, no one will remember that we had all these snow days," Holliday said. "They'll just see that schools aren't performing well, and it has a lot to do with the instructional time."

Some districts in Eastern Kentucky have missed up to 34 days of school this year.

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