Bill would give school districts power to waive make-up days - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Bill would give school districts power to waive make-up days

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A bill has passed the House that would give school districts authority to decide if days missed because of the weather should be made up.    

The House voted unanimously last week to approve the proposal. The Senate was expected to vote this week, but its session was canceled because of the snowstorm.

"I feel like the superintendents and school boards need to really address this," said Representative Carl Anderson, the Georgetown Democrat who sponsored the bill.

It would allow districts to waive up to five make-up days for the 2013-2014 school year if they were missed because of inclement weather.

Anderson is confident the Senate will pass the bill.

"I would think it would pass," said Senator John Courson, who represents Richland and Lexington counties.

"And the most important component of this is, we're not mandating the school districts to do anything. That would be their call and my theory has been as chair of the education committee that the school districts themselves, along with their trustees, elected, input from teacher, parents, students, that will be a call they will make if we pass the legislation next week."

"After the joint resolution has passed, I'm going to draft a letter to school districts and school board members across the state so they have it ready for their calendars for the next school year," Anderson said.

Anderson says not making up missed days can save districts thousands of dollars.

"When you look at running the busses, utilities and things like that, it would save districts a tremendous amount of money."

For example in Horry County, schools were closed for four days during a winter storm at the end of January. The district has used the two pre-scheduled make-up days. But two more days would need to be made up, and there aren't many free days left on the calendar.

By law, districts have to build in three make-up days in their calendar in the event of bad weather. Friday was a scheduled make-up day for some districts like Richland Two from the last snow storm.

"Dr. Zais believes that whenever possible, students should make up critical classroom learning time," said state Department of Education spokesperson Dino Teppara, on behalf of the state superintendent. "While districts are encouraged to make use of their make-up days, considering the present weather conditions, that requirement may be waived by the General Assembly."

"If someone feels strongly about this issue, I encourage them to contact their local school board members and superintendent and let them know," said Anderson.

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