School Closings

Published: 9/11/2012 11:43 AM

Although the Kentucky Department of Education does not have a direct role in determining when your school dismisses early or closes for a "snow day," or for other reasons, we are responsible for ensuring that schools and districts adhere to legal requirements in this regard.
Actually, the superintendent in your district makes the decisions regarding transportation and the safety of your child based on the information available at that time.
 
It may seem odd to you that schools are sometimes closed when an expected winter storm doesn't develop as predicted and that schools are sometimes open when the worst of conditions exist. It's helpful to remember that the overriding concern of the superintendent is the safety of the students in his or her district. That is why superintendents sometimes choose to err on the side of safety.
 
Kentucky law requires that students be in school a minimum of 1,050 instructional hours each school year, which equals 175 six-hour days. Language in the 2006 Budget Bill (House Bill 406) added two additional instructional days, bringing the total to 177 days and 1,062 hours.
In some school districts the regular school day includes more than six instructional hours, and those districts choose to use the extra time they have "banked" to offset hours missed due to inclement weather. Other districts have "make- up" days built into their school calendars in case they are needed. Whichever approach they choose, districts must - by law - provide a total of 1,062 hours of instruction each school year. Once a district has missed 20 days , it may request a district-wide disaster day from the Commissioner of Education.
 
Snow days are not free days, but they can provide your child some needed breathing room to complete those homework assignments they just have not had time to finish.
 
Finally, you may want to check with your district to see if it provides some sort of e-mail or telephone notification when schools are closing. Some districts allow you to sign-up for this service on their Web sites. See a complete list of links to Kentucky's school and school district Web sites.
Melissa Terrell
Office of Guiding Support Services/General Counsel
Division of Communications
500 Mero Street, 6th Floor CPT
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2000
Fax (502) 564-3049