The Harlan County Board of Education celebrated the first full day of spring Thursday by officially salvaging the upcoming spring break for students and staff.
Though long denied, with several days lost from the school calendar due to bad weather, many in Harlan County expected the loss of at least a few days from the vacation period that starts April 1.
Under a plan approved by the board at the regular monthly meeting, five instructional days will be removed from the calendar and other flexible days will be adjusted to make up for the 10 days missed since the first significant snow fell on the day before Halloween.
Also, the state has recently granted a “disaster day” for Green Hills elementary that will not need to be made up. School was interrupted when a water service failure forced an early closure on Sept. 10. Because of the state’s declaration, all the county schools can again follow the same calendar.
A flexible professional development day that had originally been set for Feb. 18, and actually used as a make up day, has been moved to April 1. Certified staff will be given teacher planning days May 20-24 to meet their minimum number of 185 days. Under state law, students are only required to have 170 days, provided those days are at least six hours long.
The last instructional day for students will be May 16 and closing day for teachers will be May 17.
Graduation was set for May 19.
Though the possibility remains that more school may be missed for bad weather and the resulting poor road conditions, the board noted another amendment to the calendar could be made at a later time to extend instructional days further, though they were concerned about running too close to the Memorial Day holiday.
Mandatory testing will be held in a 10-day window within the last 14 days of school, local officials say, and they would like to keep that from being too near the traditional start of summer.
During the meeting, the board also approved another proposal from the district’s calendar committee regarding the 2013-14 school year. Next year, the first day of classes will be held on Aug. 7. Spring break will be March 31 to April 4, and the last day of class is set for May 8.