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February 20, 2014

State eyes eases snow day requirements

ATLANTA —

Georgia's state school board voted Thursday to ease the requirements for school districts to make up days lost because of abnormally bad weather.

Board members approved a measure allowing Georgia districts to forego making up as many as nine days lost to the ice and snow.

Georgia schools are normally required to be open to students at least 180 days a year, although some districts receive special waivers to have a shorter school year.

Education board chairwoman Helen Rice said students will still be required to take all standardized tests, despite spending less time in the classroom.

"It's not giving a waiver for accountability in instruction and testing," she said.

The federal government allowed Georgia to come up with its own system for evaluating schools and districts. That system, called the College and Career Ready Performance Index, replaces the evaluation system of the No Child Left Behind education law, from which Georgia has received a waiver.

Georgia would need federal permission to make big changes to or to ignore the index.

Districts can give the test anytime from March 30 through May 2 and Thursday's vote would not change that timeframe, Rice said.

Board member Mike Royal said shortening the school calendars was the right thing to do because of the unusually bad weather.

"With these broad-reaching events we've had this year, I do think this is appropriate," board member Mike Royal said. "I think this is a good thing to do for schools."

 

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