- Associated Press - Monday, March 24, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - As Kentucky braced for more wintry conditions, state lawmakers could not agree Monday on a bill to relax the state’s school attendance laws for some school districts that have missed more than a month because of snowy weather.

State law requires school districts to have at least 170 days and 1,062 hours of classroom instruction each school year. But some school districts have missed more than 30 days this year because of snowstorms, pushing the school year for some districts toward the end of June.

The House and Senate both passed bills to help school districts meet state attendance requirements. Now both sides have to compromise.

Both sides agree school districts can extend the school day to a maximum of seven hours per day in order to meet the 1,062 hours requirement. But they disagree on when the school year should end.

The Senate proposed ending the school year on June 13, according to Republican Sen. Mike Wilson. But Democratic Rep. John Will Stacy, the House’s chief negotiator, said that would only benefit two school districts. He said the school year needs to end closer to June 4 to help districts that have missed more than 20 days.

“I felt like that we were very close and we would be able to get everything worked out and passed today,” Wilson said. “So it’s kind of a little shocking to me that it would come back to be that big a difference.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said if the stalemate continues he would be willing to appoint new negotiators to try again.

“I think everybody ought to pull back from where they are and pass something that is reasonable,” Stumbo said. “I think it’s a shame that kids have to go to school up until July in some of these districts.”

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