School board sets graduation date for June 1; Last day of school extended to June 6

Published 8:45 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Clark County Board Of Education passed a motion to set the George Rogers Clark High School graduation date for Friday, June 1.

The board also passed a motion to set the calendar at 171 instructional days, which would establish the last day of school for students as Wednesday, June 6.

Seniors are still required to attend the remaining instructional days after graduation unless they have a valid excuse as outlined in the Clark County Public Schools code of student conduct. Otherwise, the district will count the absence as unexcused, board chairman Scott Hisle said.

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Students will receive their diplomas after the last day of school, which is customary each year. School officials will hand the student a surrogate diploma, a tangible item indicative of later receipt of a diploma, at the graduation ceremony.

During the public comments section, GRC senior class President Hagan Wells shared with the board survey results he collected from his classmates. He said the majority of seniors requested the graduation date remain during the June 1-3 weekend.

Wells said having the graduation date on the weekend makes it easier for family members to travel for the ceremony. Wells also said having the graduation date during that weekend would provide backup days in the case of weather, so if Friday was rainy, the district could push graduation to Saturday.

Wells said there are also volunteers who have already committed to project graduation on a weekend.

“It is harder for volunteers to help when they cannot stay up all night and go to work the next day,” he said.

Furthermore, Wells said this school year has been unusual when it comes to the days school has been called off.

“On top of extreme weather conditions school has also been canceled for the solar eclipse, large numbers of sick students and teacher protests,” he said. “Therefore, this calendar adjustment should be viewed differently than others.”

Wells said many seniors will not be in attendance the last week of school because of college orientation days, basic military training, a Europe trip, 4-H camp and more.

“Graduation is an important milestone in every person’s life. The semantics on deciding adjustments to the calendar is necessary but not as important as creating multiple conflicts that take away a student’s joy walking across that stage,” he said.

Greg Hollon, director of pupil personnel and student support services, said several people wanted the graduation date to be Friday, June 1. Hollon said the district could have high school graduation before the last day of school as long as official diplomas aren’t handed out.

Board member Gordon Parido made the motion to set graduation on June 1, and the action passed.

Per KRS 158.070, district’s are required to have a minimum of 170 instructional days. So, the board could forgive one instructional day. The district has missed 14 days.

Board member Judy Hicks said she did not agree with forgiving an instructional day as the board has already forgiven a few days.

“I’m not in favor of forgiving any more days,” she said. “… A three-day week would give a better show of district-wide attendance than just two days. My mantra, we are not a minimum district. We have already forgiven five instructional days. I don’t even like saying that. Forgiving and instruction in the same sentence, no.”

The board was not in favor of having school on Memorial Day or Saturdays to make up the missed days.

Parido made a motion to amend the calendar to 170 days, to end the calendar date on Tuesday, June 5. But the action failed 2-3. Parido and board member Ashley Ritchie voted in favor. Hisle, Michael Kuduk and Hicks voted no.

Hicks then made a motion to keep the calendar at 171 days. The motion passed unanimously. This action puts the last day of school for students at Wednesday, June 6, and Tuesday, June 12, for district faculty and staff.

During the meeting, the board also approved a motion for proposed construction documents for the completion of the GRC school gymnasium and athletics fields project.

The project includes baseball, softball and football practice fields and a field house. The total project cost is estimated around $9 million.

A local FSPK bond sale will fund $3 million, and the remaining $6 million will be cash from the district’s general fund.

In other business:

— Supt. Paul Christy recognized students with GRC’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals organization. Many HOSA students placed in the top in several categories in a recent competition and 46 of 47 passed their Medicaid nurse aide state exam. One student is still waiting on results, and Christy said he is confident he or she will pass.

— Christy said the district received a $631,000 grant to help with teacher training and professional development.

He said the preschool is also applying for a grant that could be worth up $1.5 million per year. It could potentially fund extended hours of the preschool, new head start classes and more.

— Hollon said the average district attendance percentage from Aug. 16, 2017, to March 27 is about 93.79 percent. Justice Elementary School led the first and second months of the school year; Strode Station Elementary School led the third through sixth months, and Shearer Elementary School is leading the seventh month in district-wide attendance.

In other action, the board members:

— approved staffing allocation changes. Baker Intermediate School will now have staffing allocated for one for every 86 students instead of the previous one for 119 students.

— approved a pay application to RossTarrant Architects for construction administration and reimbursable expenses for the GRC gymnasium and athletic fields project for $29,270.52.

— approved GRC bass fishing team trip to Kentucky Lake to participate in tournament May 9-12.

— approved GRC orchestra trip to attend the Cincinnati Symphony May 12.

— approved GRC bass fishing team trip to compete in fishing tournament June 14–16 in Eddyville.

— approved GRC  bass fishing team trip to participate in the fishing tournament July 13-14 in Green River.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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