State Law Says Kentucky Students Can Miss School To Go To The Fair

Jefferson County High School students returned to class a week ago—creating a rare instance where the Kentucky State Fair started after the first day of school.

But JCPS students can still visit the fair on a weekday. State law makes it possible for students to have an excused absence as early as the second day of the school year to attend the Kentucky State Fair.

The provision to allow these absences to be excused came in the Kentucky Education Reform Act, part of House Bill 940 that was signed into law in April 1990.

Here’s JCPS’ districtwide attendance policy. The fair runs through Sunday.

Ben Jackey, a district spokesman, said there is no district requirement for providing proof that a student attended the fair—like bringing in a ticket or a note from a parent.

“Certain principals may ask for it, but it’s not a district requirement,” he said via email.

JCPS has never kept records of just how many students do take advantage of the state law in order to attend the Kentucky State Fair, but Jackey said that will change this school year. 

The state auditor’s office recommended that JCPS  begin keeping track of excused absences, so this year, Jackey said excused absences from attending the fair will be coded differently than other excused absences—and they will be tracked.

Amanda Storment, vice president of communications for the Kentucky State Fair, said all students are encouraged to attend the fair—whether with a field trip or not.

“There is so much to see or do,” she said.  “It’s not only for the kids who are showing livestock and items that they themselves have grown, but it is also a wonderful opportunity for students who live in urban  areas to come to the fair to see where their food is grown, where it is grown.”

Six JCPS schools have taken or will take field trips to the Kentucky State Fair.  According to school board meeting materials, those schools are Bowen Elementary, Coleridge Taylor Elementary, Gutermuth Elementary, Highland Middle, Rangeland Elementary and Young Elementary.

Jacob Ryan

Jacob Ryan is the Urban Affairs reporter for WFPL.

@jacobhryan

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