JCPS graduation dates on hold as lawmakers work to waive snow da - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

JCPS graduation dates on hold as lawmakers work to waive snow days

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Carol Ann Haddad Carol Ann Haddad
House Speaker Greg Stumbo House Speaker Greg Stumbo
Senate President Robert Stivers Senate President Robert Stivers
Kristen Thomas Kristen Thomas
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Graduation dates for 24 Jefferson County Public Schools are still in limbo. The JCPS Board had every intention of setting the dates at Monday night's meeting, but that all changed thanks to a push in Frankfort to help districts with missed snow days.

JCPS students missed 11 days because of snow pushing graduations past June 12. Now, with a little help from Frankfort and some creative options from JCPS, parents and students may be getting some relief.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Kentucky's House appears poised to approve 10 snow day waivers]

"Hopefully, they will allow us to take some of the days off, so the kids can graduate early and school can be out," said District 6 Board Member Carol Ann Haddad.

Feeling hopeful Monday night, the Board and Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens postponed setting graduation dates as Kentucky lawmakers work on a winter waiver.

Haddad said it's worth the wait.

"Once parents hear a date," she said, "They want to keep that date in mind and they make their plans around those dates, so I think it's good to make sure we have a final date before we start setting them."

Representative John Will Stacy's bill would waive up to 10 teaching days in districts that had to call off classes due to snow and ice. Instead of putting language in the budget, which may not be voted on until April, Stacy and House Speaker Greg Stumbo said lawmakers should try and pass a bill now, so school districts can set schedules and parents can plan summer vacations.

"We're going to try and get something moving this week that will give them an answer before the budget language," Stumbo said.  Stacy agreed, "It's important for administrators to know now."

The problem is, as Senate President Robert Stivers pointed out, some eastern Kentucky districts missed as many as 30 days because of icy conditions. He said the 10 day waiver should not be across the board.  "Do they (districts) get two days, do they get seven days, do they get 10 days?" Stivers asked, "I think once you get to the higher number of days missed, you're going to be looking at more days granted to you."

Any days given to JCPS would certainly help, but district officials said they are working on several of their own options that could end the school year before June 12. That makes teachers like Brandeis Elementary's Kristen Thomas happy after weeks of stop and go. She laughed of being back in class for a full week, "Yes, we are bringing some regularity back this week."

Haddad said she knows how it is to wait for the date. She has a grandson ready to get his diploma in hand too.

If the measure is approved, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holiday would decided how many days JCPS and other districts would get.

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