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JCPS to make up two snow days in February rather than June

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Public School Board made a decision on how to make up the eight school days students missed due to snow and ice.

Monday the JCPS Board voted to make up two days later this month, rather than cutting further into summer break.

"Where we come from we're always used to having snow days at the end of the school year," said Ray Lemay, who realized Louisville is a lot different from his native Wyoming.

But JCPS' way of making up the time will be by turning two teacher in-service days, February 24 and 25, into classroom days.

The decision left LeMay's wife especially cold. "My mother's a teacher," Brandi LeMay said. "I'll be a teacher. And we're required to do those (in-service) days whether it's the summer or during the school. It's not fair to say 'sorry teachers, you have to work all summer."

But several JCPS Board members maintain teachers themselves pushed hardest for taking the in-service days, rather than staying in school past Monday, June 9.

"Primarily because they want another week of un-interrupted instruction time," board member Chris Brady said. "And they also want to prepare their kids for (Advanced Placement) testing and whatnot."

"Which is something we've been sorely missing," JCPS Chief Operating Officer Dr. Michael Raisor said. "Frankly since Thanksgiving, with the winter we've been having."

Dr. Raisor chaired the Calendar Committee, which made the recommendation to repurpose the in-service days as in-class days.

"Make ‘em up now rather than later," said Kevin Comstock, whose grandson Scottie is two years away from entering kindergarten. "Everybody schedules summer vacations, so why goof them up?"

Brady acknowledged some parents also have committed to taking family time off in February.

"And they were working off the good faith of this Board that we weren't gonna mess with these days," he said.

Dr. Raisor told reporters every other scheduled day off was untouchable.

"We're in a situation now where we have a handful of people who have plans and non-refundable tickets," he said. "You cancel Spring Break (March 31-April 4) I believe we would have an overwhelming majority of that."

Similar concerns ruled out tampering with a Derby Week tradition; letting out school for the Kentucky Oaks (May 2). JCPS also is out Tuesday May 20, as many schools become polling places for the Primary Election.

"We do plan to give principals flexibility (in excusing absences,)"  board member Debbie Wesslund said. Kentucky statutes provide principals latitude in excusing absences and in how their respective schools make best use of the in-service time, and the days previously reserved for parent-teacher conferences (February 26-28.)

"We do not control the weather," board chairman Diane Porter said. "This is a winter we did not expect."

And it isn't over.

"We very well may be saving the third week of June (from becoming in-class days) by taking this recommendation," Dr. Raisor said.

"There is no more ‘wiggle room.' Every delayed start, every early dismissal, from now on, will be a full day we'll have to make up." 

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