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No. 9 Weather make-up days forgiven, Memorial Day a holiday after all

First, Memorial Day was a holiday for Fort Mill students.

Then it wasn't.

Then it was.

Again.

The on-again, off-again student holiday sat in limbo in Fort Mill after Mother Nature twice doled out snow, prompting officials to close York County schools.

When the white winter wonderland was no more, the school district said it would follow through with pre-established bad weather make-up days. The state mandates that school districts designate three bad weather days. Last year, Fort Mill school officials selected six days, including May 25 and June 8. That meant students would attend classes on Memorial Day, a time when some parents plan family getaways. It would also conflict with high school graduation.

On April 6, the school board rescinded its May 25 and June 8 make-up days, effectively returning the Memorial Day holiday to students.

But the celebration was short lived.

Days after the board voted unanimously to rescind its final weather make-up dates, Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed legislation that would have given school districts the flexibility to decide whether or not to forgive bad weather days.

For Fort Mill students, Sanford's April 8 veto put the brakes on their Memorial Day fun in the sun.

Again.

That prompted state lawmakers to unleash a plan, then state Rep. Carl Gullick (R-Lake Wylie) said.

“We are going to override the veto,” Gullick, who took issue with Sanford's vote, previously told the Fort Mill Times.

“The veto creates a situation where you're basically jerking the parents and students around,” Gullick said of Sanford's action. “And that's not right.”

House and Senate members challenged Sanford's veto and effectively cancelled out statewide weather-related make-up days.

“Now, schools can close for up to three days,” Gullick previously said about the new legislation. “It basically shortens the school year up to three days if the school board so chooses.”

Still, the fallout prompted school leaders to take a second look at the 2009-2010 calendar's bad weather make-up days. Under the district's revised calendar, no student holiday with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break is guaranteed. The reminding student holidays – traditional holidays such as Good Friday, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day and Memorial Day – are potential bad weather make-up days.

Fort Mill parents are encouraged to take a second look at that revised school calendar, which is subject to change in the event of “extraordinary weather.” Bad weather make-up dates are scheduled on Jan. 15 and 18; Feb. 15; March 19; April 2; May 31 and June 4. All are student holidays with the exception of June 4.

The revisions are noted on the district's Web site at www.fort-mill.k12.sc.us.

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