More Snow Days Push School Year Into June - The Missourian: Emissourian

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More Snow Days Push School Year Into June

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Posted: Saturday, February 8, 2014 5:32 pm

By Karen Butterfield

Missourian Staff Writer

Freezing temperatures and another round of snow have pushed the Union School District calendar into June.

Students now are slated to go to school through at least June 3, according to Superintendent Steve Bryant.

Thursday marked the district’s ninth snow day this winter, with school being canceled once in December, five times in January and three days so far in February.

According to Missouri statute, a qualifying district is required to make up the six scheduled makeup days, plus half of the additional days lost up to a total of 10 makeup days.

The remainder of the days and hours lost may be forgiven, however, the district could also choose to make up all days lost. In that case, the calendar would be pushed even further into June.

Bryant said he will look at several factors in determining if the district wants to use the “inclement weather forgiveness” rule, including average daily attendance, how the state will adjust state assessment testing times and how using the forgiveness rule might affect state formula money.

After studying those and other factors, Bryant will make a recommendation to the board, likely at the Feb. 19 school board meeting.

Calendar

Students will still be off for Presidents Day, Feb. 17, and Memorial Day, May 26.

Students will have off for spring break March 14 and 17, however, staff will have professional development March 14.

One day was cut from spring break, March 18, which was on the calendar as a snow makeup day.

Bryant said that while some schools may look at attending on scheduled days off, the Union district likely will not.

“My philosophy is that people make plans according to (the district approved) calendar. We try to follow that calendar with planned breaks and planned makeup days,” he said, adding that changing the planned calendar creates confusion.

With the calendar now stretching into summer break, Bryant said there is some concern that attendance will be lower than usual.

“There is still instructional time we need to get in,” he said. “We can’t help it that we’ve had a tough winter. We’ve tried to make good decisions about when we go to school and when we don’t and we’re always looking at safety first.”

Students did attend school Friday, Feb. 7, after being off the previous three days because of the snow and poor road conditions.

Bryant said additional buses were strategically placed and on standby, so if there was an issue another bus could get there quickly.

Mechanics also were on standby in case a bus ran into trouble.

“We tried to take every precaution,” Bryant said.

This winter, Bryant said the district has struggled with cleaning lots and making sure entrances are safe for students and staff.

“We’ve been faced with some challenges,” he said, noting that the district was over budget on chemicals and salt for lots and sidewalks, he said. “It’s one cost of doing our business and educating kids. We look at the safety factor first and go from there.”

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