Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cherokee County Schools Wrangle With Snow Makeup Days

By Graeme Moore
The Cherokee County School District said it has a number of options for making up missed school days, but extending the school day seems the most popular.
"We should seriously consider adding a little time to several days, and that's a legal way to make up time. And we might accomplish more educationally by doing that," said Dr. Edgar Taylor, the district's superintendent.
Taylor said other options include shortening spring break, adding days to the end of the school calendar year or waiting to see if legislators forgive the days.
Under state law, school districts should schedule three snow makeup days, but Cherokee County scheduled only one on its calendar this year: April 22.  Taylor said the other two would be added after the instructional year ended.
"The fact that it's not on the calendar makes it a little harder to understand, I suppose, but it would have been legal if we listed June 3rd, 4th or 5th ... as snow days," Taylor said.
According to the SC Department of Education, Cherokee County can assign makeup days anywhere they'd like, but they should have published the additional two for parents to see.
"They didn't follow exactly the letter of the law," said an education department lawyer, but the department's spokesman, Jim Foster, said in terms of practicality, the district's goof really doesn't mean much.
Cherokee County students haven't been in school since December 19 because of the Christmas break, then a week of teacher furloughs, followed by this week's snow storm.
While some parents have gotten cabin fever for the extended break, Cherokee's superintendent stands by the decision to furlough as a cost-cutting measure.
"It hurt in the sense that I think people are getting cabin fever and ready for their kids to come back to school, but you know, it really didn't hurt anything as far as making things different on us making decisions," Taylor said.
Taylor said if the board decides to extend the school day to make up for the missed days of school, it would have to be approved by the state department of education.

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