More than 1,800 Rock Hill students missed school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, this school year's first snow makeup day.
The number represents just less than 11 percent of the district's 17,256 students. That compares with an average of about 3 percent on a typical school day, according to district records. Attendance figures for the last snow day, Feb. 15, 2010, were unavailable, Rock Hill schools spokeswoman Elaine Baker said.
It's not clear how many of Monday's 1,837 absences were in protest to using the King holiday as a makeup day.
"Any kind of makeup day, those are the kinds of numbers we expect," Superintendent Lynn Moody said. "People don't have it planned on their calendars."
Upon announcing schools would be open Jan. 17, Moody said she heard from several church youth groups that planned ski trips in advance and couldn't cancel. She attributes some absences to those trips.
The district's next two snow makeup days will be Feb. 21 and May 30.
Rock Hill school officials plan calendars a year in advance. A committee drafts a calendar for Moody to recommend to the school board.
Baker is drafting a calendar for 2011-2012 that tacks on three makeup days to the end of the school year to avoid using holidays. Nothing has been finalized.
School board Chairman Bob Norwood said holidays could be designated as makeup days again.
"We need to have the whole calendar available to us if we need it," he said.
In Fort Mill, the only other York County district to hold classes on the King holiday, 7 percent of the district's 10,385 students missed school. That compares with an average of 3.5 percent on a typical Monday, Assistant Superintendent Marty McGinn said. Students attended for half the day on Monday.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, almost 24,000 students, or 18 percent of enrollment, were absent on the King holiday. That compares with an average of 5 percent on normal days and 11 percent on the last snow makeup day (Feb. 15, 2010), CMS officials reported.
The Charlotte Observer contributed.