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4 missed ice storm days won't be made up; BoE to decide on 5th day

UPDATED for print Friday, 4:20 p.m. — Ice Storm 2011 really did a number on the Fayette County School System calendar. But per state law, four of the five days missed this week will not have to be made up. The Fayette County Board of Education at its Jan. 18 meeting will discuss what to do about the missed days.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said state law has four emergency days per year built in to the school year.

Contained in O.C.G.A. 20-2-168(c)(3) is the provision that “A local board of education may, without the necessity of authorization from the state board, elect not to complete, as make-up days, up to four additional days otherwise needed which are the result of days when school was closed due to emergency, disaster, act of God, civil disturbance, or shortage of vital or critical material, supplies, or fuel. In any such case, the school year applicable to that local board of education may terminate, in the discretion of the local board, at the end of the last school day originally designated by the local board as the end of the school year, regardless of the day of the week on which the school calendar was scheduled to end.”

The school system’s 12-month staff reported to work at 10 a.m. Friday, while more than 20,000 students got their fifth day of unscheduled freedom.

Schools will also be out on Monday to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday, already accounted for on the school calendar.

This week’s five-day shutdown is the longest since at least the now-legendary Blizzard of ‘93, nearly 18 years ago.

As of Friday, Jan. 7 — the last day students attended school in Fayette — the system had logged 91 of its state-mandated 180 instruction days.

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Thursday, 01-13-11 online (first) version — Fayette County school leadership decided by 4 p.m. Thursday to ditch the last day of this school week. While the central offices and 30 school buildings have been deserted this week in the aftermath of Ice Storm 2011, Friday will bring some activity to the classrooms. The 12-month staff have been told to report for work at 10 a.m. Friday, while more than 20,000 students get a fifth day of unscheduled freedom.

With the schools taking a day off Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, by the time students see their teachers again, they will have missed six days of school attendance.

The five-day shutdown is the longest since at least the now-legendary Blizzard of ‘93, nearly 18 years ago.

As of Friday, Jan. 7 — the last day students attended school in Fayette — the system had logged 91 of its state-mandated 180 instruction days.

With the school calendar pegging Day 180 as May 27, and with two five-day breaks built in — winter break from Feb. 21-25 and spring break April 4-8 — the Board of Education and new Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden may face some hard choices to make up the missed [CORRECTED*] five days.

[*Corrected from "six" — The MLK holiday was already built into the school calendar.]

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