By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – School districts trying to make up multiple days missed because of snow and ice may get some relief from the state Board of Education.
Under a bill passed Thursday by the Senate, the board would have the authority to let local school districts cut their school year by up to 10 days.
State law requires districts to hold school 180 days.
Because of snowfalls and freezes this year, many districts across the state have had to cancel school.
The bill, which originated in the House and now heads to Gov. Haley Barbour, would allow a district to submit a plan to the state Board of Education.
The plan would show how the district could make up the work missed for up to 10 days.
On the Senate floor Thursday, Education Chair Videt Carmichael, R-Meridian, said the districts still would be required to complete their curriculum work.
The state board would approve or reject the request to reduce the number of days on a case-by-case basis.
“I think the school districts and the kids are better served if they find a way not to lose any time,” said House Education Chair Cecil Brown, D-Jackson. “Most districts will do that.
“It is an unusual year and when the supporters of this legislation introduced it they were afraid there would be up to 15 or 20 days missed because of snow. And there still might be.”
The bill’s strongest supporters were from Northeast Mississippi.
Reps. Harvey Moss, D-Corinth, and Bubba Carpenter, R-Burnsville, and Sen. Eric Powell, D-Corinth, said their area was hit particularly hard by the winter weather.
“I couldn’t get out of my driveway because of the snow on one day to drive to Jackson for the session,” Powell said.
Alcorn County Superintendent Stacy Suggs said school in his district had to be canceled eight days because of dangerous roads.
He said he and the board have replaced all but one of those days by having classes on days when no school was scheduled, such as the Martin Luther King holiday.
“We would like to have some leniency on that remaining day,” he said.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.