The state Education Board is allowing the Mayflower and Vilonia school districts to cut their academic year short by a week due to school days missed during last week’s tornado.

In its meeting Thursday, the board approved a five-day waiver for the Mayflower and Vilonia school districts to end their school year early. The state mandates that school districts are required to have at least 178 days of instruction. Education Department spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman said both school districts canceled five days of classes because of the tornado.

Vilonia School District Superintendent Frank Mitchell said if the state board hadn’t made the decision to waive the days, Vilonia children would be in school until June 13.

With the board’s decision, Vilonia School District’s last day will be the originally scheduled date of June 6.

Mayflower School District’s Superintendent John Gray said the district’s last day will be May 30th, and Mayflower students will be required to go to school on Memorial Day.

Mitchell said the Vilonia School District is not planning to hold classes on Memorial Day.

Mitchell said he appreciates the board’s decision on behalf of all staff members, the schools and the community.

"It’s especially meaningful because we had 12 staff members who lost their homes and 152 students who were displaced because of the tornado," he said.

"It’s not about getting out [of class], it’s so difficult for those who don’t have a home or only have the clothes on their back — just getting up and going to school is difficult."

Gray said all state required tests and academic work will be completed by the end of the school year.

"The state board was very understanding and sympathetic," Gray said. "They offered support to us, and I could tell they really cared about our community."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report. Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at