Ludington Area Schools will have a half-day of instruction Friday, district-wide.

The decision was made in order to allow students, faculty and staff to travel to East Lansing in time to watch the Orioles boys basketball team play in the state semi-finals at 5:30 p.m. at Michigan State University, according to Superintendent Jason Kennedy. In a statement on the school district's website, Kennedy said that because of the number of students expected to attend the game Friday, that "it is more than likely that the standard minimum attendance requirement will not be met by the District on Friday."

Kennedy's entire statement:

Dear Parents, Families, and Oriole Community:

Ludington Area Schools is blessed to have such a strong, supportive community that has continually supported its students and programs. LASD has prided itself on offering high quality extracurricular activities and programming to its students that are an extension of the classroom. The arts showcase that took place this past weekend, the robotics and quiz bowl competitions that our students are excelling in this week, among others, are just a few very recent examples of the high quality work that is continually displayed by our students.

Last evening, the men’s varsity basketball team defeated Alma in a quarterfinal game at Mt. Pleasant High School in front of a packed gymnasium of community supporters. The team will advance to play in the semi-final game at Michigan State University at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2019.

The comprehensive academic program, connected to an expansive set of extracurricular offerings are some of the reasons why our schools have ranked in the top 7 percent of schools across the Nation over the last couple of years. The District is always looking for ways to support our students and our community.

Section 101(3)(f) of the State School Aid Act provides a standard minimum attendance requirement of 75 percent of the enrolled pupils who are scheduled for instruction for a given day. The District has confirmed with its local pupil accounting auditor that students attending the game at Michigan State University on Friday, as fans who are not present at school, can not be excused using a school related absence code. This means that students not in attendance on Friday for the purpose of attending the game, do count against the District’s standard minimum attendance requirement.

If the District does not meet this standard, the day does not count as a day of instruction. When student section tickets go on sale, it is expected that these tickets will sell out very quickly. There is a high demand by our students to attend the game. Gauging by the enormous community support at last evening’s quarterfinal game, and by the number of student tickets expected to be sold with the need to leave early in the day for the event, it is more than likely that the standard minimum attendance requirement will not be met by the District on Friday.

Districts must provide 180 days of instruction, less days and hours of forgiven time, and must also provide 1,098 hours of instruction, again, less any time that has been forgiven. A half day of instruction is considered a day of instruction toward the standard minimum number of days required to be provided. In addition, the District originally scheduled greater than the required 1,098 hours of instruction to begin the year, and has developed a plan to account for instructional time that was canceled due to weather and conditions beyond the District’s control already earlier this year.

In an effort to ensure that Friday’s day of instruction counts toward the standard minimum number of days provided for the 2018-2019 school year, the District will be scheduling a half day of instruction on Friday, March 15, 2019. This will allow for the community to support our students in this event, and will allow for the day to be counted as a day of instruction. This is as long as students attend school for the half day of instruction prior to leaving for the game in East Lansing and the standard minimum requirements are met.

The District has investigated converting the secondary schedule to a half day, and keeping the elementary schedule as a full day of instruction; however, this simply will not work, in addition to the fact that the standard minimum attendance requirement is a District wide requirement.

It is important to recognize that the District has done everything that it can to ensure for a full day of instruction as originally planned on Friday; however, concerns relating to the timing of the game, transportation, availability of substitute teachers and staff, demand for students to attend the event, and the requirement to meet attendance requirement thresholds all have played a significant role in the District making this decision. This is not an issue unique to Ludington Area Schools, as the schedule is determined by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and it impacts other schools also. The schedule is not flexible or able to be modified for the state tournament. This makes it difficult for communities that are represented in the state tournament to support student athletes without making accommodations such as these.

We are extremely sorry about the inconvenience that this may cause; however, it is a decision that the District must make, and we hope that you will continue to support Ludington Area Schools in our effort to provide a high quality, well-rounded educational experience for our students. School will follow the normal half day schedule on Friday, March 15, 2019, and we encourage students to attend school to ensure that this day counts as a day of instruction for Ludington Area Schools. Thank you for supporting LASD and go Orioles!

Sincerely,

Jason Kennedy

Superintendent