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Area schools adjusting calendars, graduations

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

As a long and snowy winter comes to an end, school districts are working to finalize semester calendars and graduation dates with help from a legislative bill just signed into law.

Gov. Steve Beshear on Monday signed House Bill 211, which suspends the state law requiring school districts to have at least 170 days of classes this school year as long as districts have at least 1,062 hours of classroom time.

The McCracken County school board met Tuesday morning and approved the recommended alterations to the school calendar and graduation date.

The board approved a plan to meet the required number of hours and utilize the relief provided by the General Assembly, according to Russ Tilford, director of pupil personnel. Of the 15 days missed by the district, eight have been or will be made up, six will be converted to planning days for staff members, and one will be waived according to House Bill 211, giving the district a total 169 days of instruction.

"Our goal the entire time has been not to go into June so we think this is the most beneficial plan for our families," he said.

He said the change includes the addition of six hours total to the beginning or end of days at some elementary schools  - Lone Oak Elementary, Lone Oak Intermediate, Farley Elementary, Concord Elementary, Heath Elementary and McCracken County Open Campus  - beginning April 10 to allow additional time prior to end of year assessments. The open campus is the district's online program.

Most schools will add 30 minutes for 12 days, with Lone Oak Intermediate adding 15 minutes for 24 days and McCracken County Open Campus adding 45 minutes to eight days. He said school principals will communicate the exact time changes to faculty, staff and parents.

All other schools in the district have enough banked time and additional instructional minutes are not needed, he said. Buses and shuttle bus routes could be delayed for several minutes depending on the logistics of changing dismissal times. The last day for students will be Friday, May 30, changed from Monday, June 2, and for staff members the final day will be Saturday, May 31, including completion of make-up planning days, Tilford said.

Due to continued missed school days, graduation - initially set for May 23 - will now be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 31, in Marquette Stadium or Strawberry Hills Pharmacy Arena in the case of inclement weather.

For Paducah Public Schools, the legislation will allow the district to roll back the final day of school from June 3 to Thursday, May 29, for students. The closing day for staff members will be Friday, May 30, and Paducah Tilghman High School graduation will be Saturday night, May 31, according to Superintendent Randy Greene.

He said the district added flexibility by extending the school day by 15 minutes beginning Feb. 24 through the end of the year. The plan will be presented to the board for approval during the April 21 regular meeting.

Graves County Schools, which has missed 18 days, will add instructional time for all elementary schools starting Monday with middle and high schools remaining on a regular class schedule, according to community relations director Paul Schaumburg. The last day for students will be Friday, May 30, with graduation that night. He said staff members will meet the number of days required in their contracts.

The Livingston County Board of Education met Monday night to amend the school calendar. The district, which has missed 19 days, will not extend school days, according to Amy Ramage, director of pupil personnel. She said the district has made up six days, added 10 to the end of the year and has three days banked due to excess daily instructional minutes. The last day for students will be Friday, May 30, with graduation that night. The final day for staff members will be Monday, June 2.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

McCracken arrival, dismissal times starting April 10

Lone Oak Intermediate School: 7:20 a.m. to 2:25 p.m.

Lone Oak Elementary School: 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Heath Elementary School: 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Concord Elementary School: 8:20 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.

Farley Elementary School: 8:40 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.

McCracken County Open Campus: 7:30 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.

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