Does the District Observe State Holidays?

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School districts are not considered state agencies.

However, school district employees do get to participate in the state retirement system and insurance system, which makes some people think of them as state employees. Still, school district employees do not accrue leave in the same way that state employees do, etc.

Holidays are another area in which there is a difference. According to the South Carolina Department of Education’s attorneys, the only holiday that a public school is required to be closed is on General Election Day. From the Code of Laws of South Carolina SECTION 59-1-370, SECTION 53-5-20: “Closing of educational institutions on general election day. All State-supported colleges and universities, technical education centers and public schools shall be closed general election day in November of each even-numbered year. This day shall not be considered as one of the regular school days for the year for public schools.”

The Code of Laws of South Carolina SECTION 53-5-10 lists the holidays that state employees are required to observe. (Remember school districts are not legally required to observe these same holidays.)

  • The first day of January — New Year’s Day
  • The third Monday of January — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • The third Monday in February — George Washington’s birthday/President’s Day
  • The tenth day of May — Confederate Memorial Day
  • The last Monday of May — National Memorial Day
  • The fourth day of July — Independence Day
  • The first Monday in September — Labor Day
  • The eleventh day of November — Veterans Day
  • National Thanksgiving Day and the day after
  • The twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth days of December (Governor may also declare Christmas Eve a holiday for state government employees.)


This law goes on to state that public colleges, universities and technical colleges are not legally required to observe all these state holidays. (The rationale: It makes it hard to schedule all the hours needed to meet requirements for hours of instruction per course, etc.)