Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 1, 2014

School may be in session on Election Day due to snowy winter

Somerset — Two bills –– one in the House and one in the Senate –– would allow schools in Kentucky to have classes on Primary Election Day (May 20) to make up days lost because of bad weather during this brutal winter. Another bill introduced in the House would waive up to 10 instructional days for school districts that have missed days this winter.

As of Thursday, neither of the bills has made it out of committee but the possibility of having schools in session on Primary Election Day is a concern among county clerks because of the number of polling places in school buildings.   

Waiving the 10 instructional days –– House Bill 410 –– is scheduled to come before the House Education Committee on Tuesday. If this bill were to become law it apparently would make it unnecessary to have classes on Primary Election Day.

Both Somerset and Pulaski County school systems have told County Clerk Ralph Troxtell that schools will not be in session on Primary Election Day, but Science Hill Independent School District may have classes if the law allows.

“We’re considering having school (on Primary Election Day),” said Rick Walker, superintendent of the Science Hill School District. “The decision is not firm; the school board will make the final decision based on our recommendation,” Walker added.

Bad weather has forced the Science Hill School District to miss eight days so far this year,” Walker said. At this point, if the school system closes on Primary Election Day, takes a scheduled spring break and is off on Memorial Day, the last day of school will be May 28, Walker noted. “If (there are more snow days) and school has to stay in session up into June, the kids lose interest,” he added.

Two precincts –– Science Hill County and Buncombe –– vote at Science Hill School. If either SB 149 or HB 219 were to become law, Troxtell would have to find other voting places for the two precincts.

Sonya Wilds, assistant superintendent of Pulaski County School District, said the decision was made not to have classes on Election Day because six precincts vote in county school buildings “ ... and it would have been too much of a burden on the county clerk to find that many alternate places to vote.”

Wilds said the county school district has missed eight days so far because of snow. “We’ve made up two of those day so we only have six days to make up,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the Somerset Independent School District said only five days were missed for bad weather, and the school system will be closed on Primary Election Day.  

Unless either SB 149 or HB 219 becomes law, the problem with polling places is moot. Current state law requires schools to close on Election Day.

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