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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.


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.]



1BravesFan's picture

What's the deal with the schools being closed again?

The roads in Fayette County were fine for the most part on Thursday morning (at the most it should have been a 2hr delay), but now they're cancelling Friday too? What a joke! What is this, Mamby-Pamby land?

Let me guess, tomorrow is for the teachers to get caught up from being off.

Can they milk this week for anything more?

Whoever the Superintendent of Schools is, one word for ya bud, "PATHETIC" !

Today when anyone will sue for anything the school system probably does not want to risk a student getting injured waiting on a school bus from someone else's stupidity or a high school student showing off and having a bad wreck. Some parent would sue the school system for holding school when there was ice still on one road in Fayette County. Teachers are not 12 month employees so they probably do not have to report. The article seems to be counting the Monday holiday as a lost day to get to six days needed to be made up but I would think that the MLK day was built into the schedule.

I want my child safe. These days can easily be made up. Perhaps big mouth is just that, BIG MOUTH.

Think about the state of this country and law suits. A bus full of kids slids into the ditch. The lawyers and parents would have a hay day due to negligence. End of story.

cogitoergofay's picture

I would concur with the School Administration's closing for a week.

First, there remains enough of a risk to keep the roads closed. There are isolated patches of ice that still effect traction. There is no reason to close most businesses since the main roads are fine. 54 (which I use) is mostly fine. The difficulty is that children have to be picked up on the secondary and tertiary roads--- this is where ice is and there is remaining risk. I grew up driving on icy roads in New England (as did Superintendent Bearden). I know how to drive on ice. Many Georgians, however, do not. They simply do not have ice often enough to acquire the experience driving on these roads nor do we have the equipment to remove the ice.

Second, would you disagree that schools should not have been closed Monday? Tuesday? Now we are in a situation that we have schools idle for nearly a week and we are going to run the expense of heating them back up for one day of school only to turn the heat off again for 3 days? Wasteful.

School board was right. We will make these days up in the spring.

He grew up in GEORGIA!!

and gave his approval.

Mike King's picture

Give the guy a break! After all, why should anyone be forced to watch their kids.

coming up!!

I'm sure the School administration can come up with a list of why to be off five days for two days of snow and ice, but I doubt they will mention some of the considerations.

Qualified large vehicle drivers they do not have many, if any.
The staffs didn't want to get out in cold weather and try to get to work.

However, hundreds of parents were highly inconvenienced who work for a living. I'm sure a lot of of kids were also left alone.

I figure they will still take off time nearly every month from here out for various non-reasons also, instead of teaching the kids those five days!

We take everything out of the parents hands nowadays!

...almost side-swiped the trees and then went the other way and briefly crossed over the yellow line before finally straightening out. I was driving below the speed limit and am quite cautious; my mistake was not having my tires positioned exactly in the "black" asphalt tread mark lines (whatever they are called) when entering the patch. By the way, the sun was still out (about 530 PM), ie., it wasn't the dark, early morning hours that the buses would be out. Why take chances with kids on a bus? Oh yea...teachers don't report tomorrow. We're just a week behind and have to figure out how to catch up the kids without doubling the work and stressing the kids because EOCTs and GHSGTs will happen at the designated date regardless of the weather. Let the fun begin.

Some roads are still ice over like Mylan Rd. off Highway 74. Buses go down these roads to get kids even if it is part of Fulton County. I tried to go down Mylan Rd. yesterday afternoon it was still slippery. So is Sandy Creek Rd. and Tyrone Rd. I saw a truck slid in to a ditch yesterday. Some roads are still ICEY. You want a school bus full of kids on these roads? Not my kids. As for making up the missed days you could take away the winter break. They already had their "WINTER BREAK"!

Simple solution, Winter break has already been taken. School should go straight through until SPRING BREAK.

abeautifulday4us's picture

Take the days from Winter Break. Batman is right !

What do we need-- 2 or 3 days? Make Winter Break a long weekend (take off Friday and Monday) and save fuel costs.

Simple ! Done !

best idea I've heard, I always thought it was stupid anyway, if you just veer off the major roads and there is plenty of ice still out. yes it melts daily but is re freezing every night.

scrapsuzy's picture

From what I've heard from some educators and our local news, the state allows for 4 days that do not have to be made up, and after that a school system can request a waiver so as to not have to make up any others. When a State of Emergency has been declared (as it was this week), the waiver is often granted automatically. (I am not stating this as fact, but did see the specific state code quoted, just don't know which one it is to post here.)

After being out on the roads yesterday, including Walt Banks (where McIntosh is), I fully support FCBOE's decision to keep the schools closed. The roads are not clear enough. Not for the school buses, and especially not for the hundreds of teen drivers (including my own child) who take themselves to school each day.

I agree that safety for my children is priority (though I think school could have been held Friday and probably Thursday); BUT, education is very, very important to me. So, I hope you are WRONG about the days not being made up. I pay lot of taxes in this county, I expect a full school year. Cancel Winter Break! What kind of parent would want a shorter school year?????

that are VERY dangerous. The main roads are fine.

A good family vacation is more educational than the 5 days lost this week. Utah snow mobiling is high on the list of things to do in February. So please if you have any kids take them on a great trip and educate them about other things in life. Going to school isnt the only way to get an education.

I'm sorry that education isn't important to you. You clearly don't value education if you are suggesting that a planned family vacation to Utah takes precedence over making up five days of class. This is what you need to out after school on Friday get up early on Saturday and rush through all of your family fun (take pics)and head home Sunday. Be home in time to finish homework, take a bath and get ready for Monday. Come on...if education is a priority with you (and what kind of parent doesn't put education first?) then you will be a little more flexible with your scheduling. Don't worry about the long as you've got the pics you can always fall back on...."Whatever do you mean, little Johnny? We had LOTS of fun times together as a family...just take a look at the photo album!" hahahaha!!

Sounds more like a defeatist, "can't do" attitude to me concerning calling school on Thursday and Friday....

At least we are smart enough not to make it up on MLK day Monday unlike some of the counties up north in the mountains.

following the herd...

I enrolled my kids in Fayette schools to get an education. I certainly want to see the lost days rescheduled. The sensible solution is to cancel the February break. The kids have already had their Winter Break, I don't want them to lose any more time in class.

How can any teacher teach the same amount with 5 fewer days of school? Any teacher who says they can do so couldn't be a very good teacher. Teaching is about educating, not just collecting a paycheck. Good teachers won't oppose making up the lost time.

..yes, we've all had winter break. I know I was able to go somewhere nice with my family! What about you? I guess I can tell my GS troop too bad for the swimming with the manatees trip we planned for Feb, right? I should have figured that we'd be out for the whole week and just gotten everyone together and headed south! Woohoo!!! Too bad if they decided to have school on Thurs and Fri, right?

While I appreciate your love for family and your GS troop, I am sorry to hear that you don't value education (and therefore don't seem to mind the loss of 5 school days).

Family, GS troop, and education are all important. Maybe you should switch your plans to a weekend or another time. Making education a priority may require some flexibility.

No wonder test scores in Georgia are so low.

Fayette posts very good scores.

I'm also not seeing where the above poster was not wanting to make up the days. The fact is a lot of people have plans that revolve around the Winter Break. The days could easily be made up at years end.

Many families have made plans around the school calendar in order for their children not to miss school. That is why school calendars are out over a year in advance. The school calendars for testing also will not change as they are set by the state/districts and must be administered for results to be returned in a timely fashion.
This incidident of snow and ice could not have been predicted to last this long. I agree that heating school buildings for today would have been more expensive in our cost cutting schools, but who would ask the bus drivers, students, parents and staffs to have all been put at risk. My neighborhood still has ice on the streets as well as the driveways! I can't believe anyone would think that this is a safe way to send our children out and risk life and limb!

purplehaze's picture

I am absolutely disgusted at your comment about teachers just collecting a paycheck! You are obviously oblivious to what Fayette County teachers do on a daily basis.

Trust me on this, no inspirational movie will ever be made about a Fayette County teacher. Average teachers giving the minimum effort saved by the fact that the students produce slightly above average results.

Our school system could, and should, be one of the best in the nation.

You are an idiot!

So, move. Is someone forcing you to stay here in the land of low test scores and too many snow days? I'm from NJ, land of great test scores! There are lots of homes for sale! Hit the road! I mean...if education is really that important to you...right? Because, clearly, you are not doing all in your power to provide your child/children with the best. If you were interested in the best you never would have moved to Georgia, now would you?

Gene61's picture

I wonder how the decision was made to close schools on Friday here in Fayette County. Don't mind having my daughter home, she is joy and is still studying ( and playiing outside ) and preparing for her return to school on Tuesday.

This weather event was unusual and the Icy conditions were worse than I even thought it might be. I believe we all thought this would be at best a few days of snow, then as usual back to the grind.

Yes, this week should be considered Winter Break. Look how they packed in the testing and homework before Christmas break, it can be done again to make up the needed time. Fayette County kids are some of the brightest in the state.

I do wonder why it is so hard for some people to be civil, everyone has the right to their opion. how about being adults, and simply replying with your opinion, not childish insults. The level of civility on this board has turned rather rude of the years.

I agree, it could be much better. I will do my best in the future in this regard.

Have a great weekend!

Gene61's picture

I think we all can.. You have a great weekend also.


The kids don't do anything constructive the last week of school anyway so now there are 4 more days not to have instruction! Tack on the 5 days during winter break or the end of the year. More class time not less!

I know many are against it but we should have school year round. Kids forget too much in the summer!

The last three days of school are for exams. I would call that constructive. What do you call it? If parents worked with their kids throughout the summer, then their kids wouldn't forget. It's not too hard. Just turn off the electronic device that you utilize the most for an hour each night (or day).

Well I believe you for high school and possibly middle school (as my oldest just started this year) but in elementary school they don't do much!

While nothing was said i can bet schools were closed because of safety. Saw a bus on Wednesday slowly riding its route to determine if they could go. I'm sure the right decision was made!

We are talking one the state and county board of education laws. Really, the amount of complaining on here takes up too much energy. Spend some of that time reviewing the school work your child(ren) already has/have so that they can do their best when they return to school. Do the next page in the workbook, jump to the next spelling list, review the study guides, practice their math facts. It's not a big deal. The school board will make the best decision they can and many people will complain regardless. Deal with it. If you have plans that "can't" be altered, handle it like you would if your child is sick or has an appointment that ONE day. Make it your own personal problem, not the community's. If you keep your child out of school that one day, so be it. If you can make it, even better. I would hope that your child's education isn't hanging on one instructional day. If it is, you should consider forgoing any vacations, including summer, and spend the time tutoring. I have faith in the teachers' abilities to adjust lessons so that the children learn what they need to by year's end. Spend your energy helping the teachers achieve this goal. Reschedule/ cancel extracurriculars for a while, spend 15-30 minutes extra on homework each day, send an hour or two studying on's not such a big deal.
P.S. There is a chance of severe weather in February too! Roads closed, flights cancelled, whatever will you do?!!!


I like you....wish I knew who you are full of good ideas and common sense....hard to find these days! you're one of the few people who actually understands that "it's not about you." Thanks for speaking your mind....keep posting.


Do teachers get "snow" days in their contracts or are they required to make them up at some point? If they have to make them up, wouldn't it make sense to have the kids there too?

Heard the kids are going to school part of the winter break - anyone go to the BoE meeting last night?

Right after these buffoons come out and say they don't have to make up 4 of the ice days they decide to cancel the winter break!

A lot of people, including us and several teachers that we know, already have vacations planned and paid for. It's been on the calendar for a year and a half and they cancel when it's a month away.

I've never been a fan of winter break, but it is too late now to cancel it. Our family has a once in a life time trip planned that can't be rescheduled.

Is this true?
Classes rescheduled during winter break?
Oh, my! Things are going to get ugly around here.
Time to duck and cover.

I just found that we will make up three days and they will be during Winter break - we will be out on Monday and Friday - even though we probably won't have any more snow days. Don't know what happened to the 4 "allowed" by the state. Oh well, it is what it is.

I wonder how attendance will be on that
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?

Just Sayin'


Gene61's picture

First it wasn't going to be made up, now they are, typical confusion.

Along with their unanimous vote to approve the three make-up days, the board agreed that accommodations would be made for students and employees unable to alter their winter vacation plans.

We saw this coming..

Might want to remove this article from The Citizen....


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