School board votes 7-4 to extend semester in Low Country

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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. – Low country school leaders originally said they’d make up nine missed days over Christmas break from Hurricane Matthew, but all of that changed at the school board meeting Tuesday night.

Board members gave parents four options to choose from through a survey. Unfortunately, all suggestions had a downfall, but after those results surfaced board members were able to find their answer.

Board members voted 7-4 to extend the semester.

Students would start back on January 2nd and the semester would end on the 11th. School officials laid out four options for parents and staff to vote on.

Temporarily have school on Saturdays, have one-hour extended school days, an extended semester or shorten Christmas break.

“The board really struggled with wanting to do what was best for the instructional interest for our children, but also try to keep in mind the impact of Hurricane Matthew and the personal issues that families are dealing with at this time,” Mary Cordray, the school board chair, said.

Approximately 700 parents responded to the survey out 22,000 students district wide. In response 52% said it would be best to shorten Christmas break, 26% said to extend the semester, 18% said extended day and 4% voted on the Saturday school option.

While 2,010 teachers district wide voted on the options as well with 43.68% wanting a shorter Christmas break, 35.32% to extend the semester, 17.21% to extend some school days and 3.78% to hold class on some Saturdays.

Now, these make up days only effect high school students who need to have a specific number of hours of school credit to graduate.

With the vote in place, school officials have agreed to work with military and dual credit students.

Also, graduation dates for the Beaufort County School district have changed.

Below is a list of the schools and days students will graduate in 2017.

May 31st – Whale Branch Early College High School

June 1st – Hilton Head High School

June 2nd – Bluffton high school

June 3rd – Battery Creek High School

June 5th – Beaufort High School

June 6th – May River High School

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