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School board's decision to add 23 minutes to school day contingent upon lawmakers

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By Mallory Bilger

The Spencer County Board of Education moved Monday night to add 23 minutes to each school day following spring break — but that’s only if Frankfort says it can.
Superintendent Chuck Adams said adding the additional minutes would only work if Kentucky lawmakers pass measures in the coming weeks stating that such an action is legal.
Many districts are in trouble following the brutal winter and the requirement to fulfill 170 instructional days. Adams said if lawmakers can agree it’s all right to make that missed time up in additional minutes instead of adding days, the district will be in a position to have its full spring break next week and have its last day for students May 29. Graduation day would be May 30 following this plan.
“We are in much, much better shape than many others,” Adams said. “We were able to pull some of those built in days.”
Adams said if the district is given the green light to add the minutes, a decision would need to be made as to how the extra time would be dispersed throughout the school day. He said he would consider adding no more than 10 minutes to the beginning of the school day because high school students already report for school early.
“We’d probably be looking at five or no more than 10 minutes (in the morning). I’m not going to begin earlier than 7:30 a.m. We’ll probably add five or six (minutes) at the beginning and then balance the rest at the end of the day.”
Adams also said that the minutes would be dispersed equally among the periods in the upper grades.
Spencer County Public School students are going into next week’s spring break with all its days — a luxury that many students across the state no longer have. Adams said the winter has been extremely difficult for educators to work around, but he felt that Spencer County was prepared with multiple days built into the schedule. Those built in days offered relief instead of adding extra days to the end of the schedule.
“You don’t plan for this type of thing,” Adams said.
Meanwhile, school districts across Kentucky are looking nervously at legislators to determine the fate of how to deal with high numbers of missed days due to inclement weather.