STATE HOUSE: SC schools might have option to forgive added snow days

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN and JAMIE SELF on February 11, 2014 

Ice forming at the beginning of the ice storm in late January.

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — File photograph/kkfoster@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The S.C. Senate will consider allowing school districts statewide to not make up any snow days taken during this week's storm in addition into any sessions missed in a winter blast two weeks ago.

Some school districts already sent students home early Tuesday and others have called off classes for Wednesday. (Get the latest on closings here.)

The state House approved a resolution last week to forgive the first set of snow days, but the Senate had not taken up the issue before another winter storm struck today. The Senate canceled its session this week because of the weather.

Next week, the Senate will look at adding snow days from the latest storm to what school districts can forgive, Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson said.

If the amendment is approved, the resolution would return to the House. A spokesman for House Speaker Bobby Harrell said it was too early to say if the House would pile on the additional snow days.

Courson said the resolution gives school districts the option to forgive the snow days.

Some school districts, including Richland One where Courson's son attends school, already have designated make-up days from last month's storm. Some schools will open Monday -- the Presidents' Day holiday.

State law requires public schools make up missed school days and designate three days for catch up. Once those days are used, schools can expand class time by at least one hour a day or hold classes on Saturdays to make up lost academic time.

Gov. Nikki Haley said she hopes the General Assembly passes a statewide bill that would allow school districts to decide whether to forgive missed days.

"We want our kids making up those days -- this isn't a way for us to get out of teaching -- but what we think is that should really be a local issue," Haley said at a news conference Tuesday. "Those local districts should be able to decide what they need and what they don't."

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