Changes of biggest concern for the Clay Community School Corporation will be the rescheduling of parent teacher conferences, which will affect the school calendar.
"This has come at a time of the year when many school corporations already have dates set for the following school year," CCSC Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "We will not be alone in having to look at our options."
The new policies are designed to ensure students receive a minimum of 180 days of instructional time each year, which is the minimum number required by state law.
"As President Obama said last week in unveiling his education agenda, 'the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom,' and I couldn't agree more," Bennett said in a press release. "The academic achievement of students is an urgent state priority and we should begin by ensuring students are in class at least the full number of days required by state law."
Bennett said changes have been made specifically in the way the DOE will handle waivers of financial penalty for canceled school days due to severe weather.
Last week, the DOE adopted an emergency policy, which establishes guidelines for school corporations to apply for waivers to lessen or eliminate the financial penalty for canceled days during the 2008--09 school year only.
However, this practice will become obsolete during the 2009--10 academic school year, because the DOE does not intend to offer these policies.
Bennett believes the practice does not meet the needs of state students.
"School corporations have it in their power to create academic schedules that build in the necessary flexibility that will allow them to ensure their students receive at least the minimum number of instructional days," he said. "The Department of Education stands ready to assist schools in planning their calendars and seeking creative solutions to guarantee students receive the 180 days of classroom instruction."
The launch of the 2009--10 school year will no longer permit schools to use half-days for professional development activities, parent-teacher conferences must be conducted outside of the 180-day requirement.
A one-or two-hour delay due to weather conditions will still be considered an extraordinary circumstance and it will still be counted as an instructional day.