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School makeup days discussed

Charles Berkley

Administration with Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) and members of the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors discussed the division’s makeup-day policies relating to inclement-weather cancellations during the board’s monthly meeting Feb. 8.

Brown’s Store District Supervisor Mike Hankins posed a question about the number of days missed in 2018. LCPS Superintendent Charles Berkley said the division has missed seven full days as a result of inclement weather which included snowfall and ice on the roadways.

Berkley said that the division used Presidents’ Day, originally slated to be a holiday, as a makeup day.

“One day?” Hankins asked about the makeup schedule. “We’ll make up one day,” Berkley said.

“We had some hours built in,” Berkley said. “It’s not based on the number of days of school attendance, it’s based on the number of hours.”

Berkley said the division has more than 1,200 hours built in for the school year.

“We still have ample teaching time available,” Berkley said.

Meherrin River District Supervisor Robert Zava asked about the minimum amount of hours a division would need to operate for the school year.

Berkley said the minimum would be 990 hours, and he said the division aims to exceed that minimum.

“We always try to have way more than that,” Berkley said.

Virginia State Code § 22.1-98 cites that “the length of every school’s term in every school division shall be at least 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours in any school year.”

Divisions that have fewer than 990 hours could face reductions in state funding.

“If the length of the term of any school or the schools in a school division shall be less than 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours in any school year, the amount paid by the commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund shall, except as otherwise hereinafter provided or as otherwise provided by law, be reduced in the same proportion as the length of the school term has been reduced in any school or the schools in the school division from 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours,” the code cited.

Plymouth District Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover asked about the number of hours for each school day.

“Are they eight-hour days?” Hoover said. “If you miss one, is it considered eight hours of education or nine?”

“Seven and a half,” Berkley said.

He said if weather-related cancellations persist, then it could have an effect on school hours during spring break.

“If we miss a week or so in the near future, it probably will reflect on spring break,” said Berkley, who noted spring break for the division is the first week of April.

Zava asked if the two-percent raise for division staff that was voted into the 2017 fiscal budget had come into effect.

James Abernathy, executive assistant to the superintendent, said the second portion of the raise would go into effect in February.

In an email Monday, Abernathy said that the first one percent of the two-percent raise was given to staff at the beginning of the contract year.