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Make-up days may cut into long weekends

Citrus public school students might lose their long weekends at Veterans Day and Thanksgiving to make-up days lost to Frances and Hurricane Charley, the School Board learned Tuesday.

Nov. 11, 12 and 24 (the day before Thanksgiving) are the three days that a committee is recommending as hurricane make-up days for students. The board will make a final decision at a future meeting.

Students actually missed six days due to the storms, but the committee agreed that the district should ask the state to waive three of those missed days. Committee members also agreed that the make-up days should be scheduled during the current semester, which ends just before winter break in December.

If this plan is approved, and students are in school on Veterans Day, superintendent David Hickey said the schools would focus on activities appropriate for that holiday. Several bands still would participate in the Veterans Day parade, he said. In the past, veterans groups have criticized the schools for not allowing their students to be part of the parade.

Hickey said he has talked to veterans group leaders in the community about the need to make up the lost days.

"They understand," he said. "They're supporters of education and they understand that we've got to do what we've got to do."

In addition to selecting potential make-up days, the committee also suggested changing the end of the first nine-week period, making it later and changing the days that were set for early dismissals at the end of the nine-week term. The suggestion: Move the end of the term from the planned Oct. 8 to Oct. 19, and move the planned early dismissal days from Oct. 7 and 8 to Oct. 18 and 19.

The School Board also must approve those proposed changes.

Employees have lost six days of work because of the storms, and the board initially talked about finding a way for all those days to be made up.

But the committee found it difficult to find six days in the calendar to do that, Jan Morphew, director of research and accountability, told the board Tuesday.

The committee suggested allowing employees to make up the same three days as the students, plus Washington's birthday in the second semester. Students, however, would still be off on Washington's birthday, but staff would be in training.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at 564-3621 or behrendtsptimes.com.

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