The last day of school for students in Jefferson County Public Schools will be June 6, rather than June 12, following a vote Monday night by the JCPS Board.
Teachers will work through June 13. Graduation dates for JCPS seniors will be June 6-9.
The board approved the scheduling revisions during a special meeting, which was called following Gov. Steve Beshear’s signing of a bill that aimed to give relief to some school districts impacted by snow days. The bill lets districts have fewer than the required 170 school days in the year, as long as they’ve had at least 1,062 instructional hours.
JCPS missed a total of 11 days this school year due to snow. But Superintendent Donna Hargens says JCPS would have 1,066 instructional hours by June 6.
“We have the amount of instructional hours, we had solid instruction,” she says. “I think the basis of the recommendation is that we have had the required number of hours.”
Hargens says there is also money that can be saved by ending school on June 6, rather than June 12.
“There is a cost savings to fuel, if the buses aren’t transporting students for four days,” she says.
During the previous school board meeting on March 24, the board voted to approve a June 12-14 graduation schedule. Monday’s special meeting changed that.
Hargens says her “heart goes out” to families that may have already made travel plans for graduation ceremonies.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said, adding that “people have two months to adjust.”
She says teachers will also be able to use the extra week for professional development.
“If we can have 6,000 teachers more ready with more capacity to do a great job next year, that is a great investment of time,” says Hargens. “That is one thing they struggle with, having the time to get the professional development they need to do the job they want to do for our students.”
But board member Chris Brady, a representative of district 7, says having students in classrooms is more important than having teachers participating in professional development.
“In fact, if we are really that concerned about professional development then the administration shouldn’t have recommended we take away one of those days in February,” he said. “I think this sets a bad precedent. I think our kids need to be in school. I think we really need to make the focus on student achievement and not when our vacations should start.”