Memorial Day: It's back in for Anderson County

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Board of Ed adjusts school calendar for rest of this year

By Chris Hamilton

Anderson County students and their families can plan a picnic after all now that Memorial Day has been added back to the school calendar as a day off school.

The Anderson County Board of Education voted to add Memorial Day back to the school calendar as a holiday and end school Wed., June 4 during a special-called meeting Tuesday of last week.

The change was made possible by the passing of House Bill 211, which implemented emergency provisions related to school calendars because of the unusually high number of days missed because of inclement weather during the 2013-14 school year.

HB 211 simplified the calendar requirements for school calendars to a single goal in 2013-14 – achieve a minimum 1,062 hours of instruction. School districts still get to decide the final day of instruction and Director of Student Services Derek Shouse presented the Board with four options for wrapping up the current school year.

In the end, the Board created its own fifth option.

Graduation for Anderson County high school seniors will be Thurs., June 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Because the school district had already converted some non-instructional days, such as some spring break and professional development days, to instructional days, it had some flexibility.

Shouse presented four proposals.

Option 1 – Leave the calendar in its current format and simply drop 2 days from the end of the school year. School would end June 3 and graduation would be the evening of June 3.

Option 2 – Add 10 minutes of instruction to 32 days and school would end May 30 with graduation May 31.

Option 3 – Add 20 minutes of instruction to 40 days and add Memorial Day (March 26) back as a day off. School would end May 30.

Option 4 – Add 10 minutes to 12 days and add Memorial Day back as a day off. School would end June 3.

With all options, teachers would still work until June 6.

“Several parents have said that Memorial Day was very important to them,” said Shouse. “I’ve even had senior parents tell me they want Memorial Day and they don’t care what day school gets out.”

After discussion about how useful adding minutes to days would be and the logistics of getting students to school earlier or home later, Board Vice Chair Roger McDowell proposed a fifth option – don’t change anything besides giving back Memorial Day as a day off and ending school June 4.

“After May 30 and testing is over, they’re done anyway,” said Board Chair Scott Brown.

McDowell asked Superintendent Sheila Mitchell how to make the days after May 30 useful. Mitchell said the days after testing are used for transitional programs, such as introducing students to next year’s teachers and, in some cases, beginning work on next year’s content.

In other matters, the Board:

**Voted to schedule graduation for June 5 unless June 4 was available.

**Approved a request by Anderson County High School teacher Randy Adams to take 25 FFA students to the Kentucky FFA Leadership Training Center in Hardinsburg, Ky. April 11-12, an overnight trip.

District transportation will be used but the cost of the trip will be paid from FFA funds.

**Approved Aug 13 as the first day of school for School Year 2014-15 with Oct. 13-17 as fall break and March 30-April 3 as spring break. The last day of school would tentatively be scheduled for May 21.

**Approved Aug. 12 as the first day of school for School Year 2015-16 with Oct. 5-9 as fall break and April 4-8 as spring break.

“If we missed the same number of days that we missed this year, June 10 would be the final day in 2015,” said Shouse.