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Winter weather turns holiday into school day

The Paris School Board voted last week to make up one of the six days of class cancelled because of winter weather on Monday, May 26, which is Memorial Day.

One of the six missed class days was made up earlier this year, leaving the district with five days to make up.

Students will also go to class the rest of the last week in May, ending the school year on Friday, May 30. The last day of class was originally scheduled for Friday, May 23. That date was set before one of the coldest winters in decades forced the closure of school for six days.

Once the board made its decision, School Superintendent Wayne Fawcett had to get permission from the state’s Department of Education to go to school on the holiday. Fawcett said he got permission late last week. The school board met on Thursday, March 13.

Fawcett said the school board made it’s decision after Fawcett sought input from teachers and staff.

Going to school on the holiday and the remaidner of that week was one of three options Fawcett presented. Other options presented to teachers and staff were to keep Memorial Day as a holiday, have classes on one Saturday and May 27-30 and to keep Memorial Day a holiday and end school on Monday, June 2.

“I met with the district’s personnel committee and got input from teachers and they wanted to go to school on Memorial Day and end the school year on May 30,” Fawcett said.

Permission was sought from the state because state law requires that if the school year extends past Memorial Day, the district has to observe the holiday unless a waiver is granted by the Arkansas Education Department, Fawcett said. Having to make up five more days, required going past Memorial Day, he said.

Fawcett also said he’s never before had to make up more than four days missed because of weather.

“Making up six days is the most I’ve ever had to make up,” Fawcett said. “Making up six snow days is a lot. Some districts are having to make up more than that or get a waiver from the Department of Education. Some districts are easily in the double-digits on missed days. Some are above 20. In my career, that is unprecedented. It’s been a tough winter.”

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