Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Friday will be the last day of school in Berkeley and Dorchester counties, after all.
Both districts had planned to end school this week, but hit a hitch when they were required to add weather makeup days at the end of the year, a move that made teachers and families unhappy and that officials called an unnecessary expense.
On Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law that allows the districts to count the early release and teacher workdays converted into makeup days, making Friday - again - the last day of school. In Dorchester, teachers will have a workday on Monday and staff development day Tuesday.
Berkeley employees will have a workday Monday and either Saturday or Tuesday, decided by each school. Charleston County, which was not part of the measure, will end with a half day for students and a full day for staff on June 6. The last-minute change in the calendar came after state education officials said only days scheduled as makeup days could be used.
Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester 2 all converted other days to regular school days to avoid using the scheduled end-of-year makeup days, which they said would be poorly attended.
District 2 school board member Sam Clark asked state lawmakers for help and State Reps. Chris Murphy and Jenny Horne sponsored a bill that waived the makeup requirements for the district.
Berkeley County later asked to be added to the bill, as did a couple of districts in Spartanburg County, said Sen. Paul Campbell. Lowcountry schools were closed for ice and power outages on Jan. 29 and 30, and Feb. 12 and 13.
Dorchester 2 also was closed Feb. 14, when Berkeley had a scheduled teacher workday and Charleston started late.