- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky public school students won’t have to cancel their summer vacations after state lawmakers agreed to relax school attendance laws following an unusually snowy winter.

House and Senate negotiators agreed Wednesday night to suspend the state law requiring school districts to have 170 days of classes, as long as they have at least 1,062 hours of classroom instruction.

If a school district cannot meet the 1,062-hour threshold after exhausting all other options, including canceling spring break and school holidays, the school year will end on June 6. State Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said fewer than 10 school districts would fit that category.

“We’re taking out the headache of the days,” Givens said.

Some rural eastern Kentucky school districts have missed more than a month of classes since January as winter storms blanketed the commonwealth with snow and ice, making travel for school buses treacherous.

The agreement allows school districts to lengthen the school day to a maximum of seven hours in order to make up the time. And it allows districts to have class on May 20 - election day - to get in extra hours.

As of March 11, seven of Kentucky’s 173 school districts had missed at least 30 days of classes. Another 40 districts had missed at least 20 days, while 24 districts had missed fewer than 10 days, according to Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Lawrence County, a district near the Kentucky-West Virginia border, has missed more than 30 days of school. The school board had recently agreed to cancel spring break and to extend the school year to June 12. The school year was supposed to end May 9.

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