Snow Days Accumulating For Local Schools
By Mike Perleberg
(Aurora, Ind.) – Most area school students are getting the day off Wednesday with another chance to sleep in, go sledding, build a snowman, watch television, or play video games. Some might even use the extra time for homework.
But, they’ll make up for it eventually.
Some southeast Indiana school districts have already missed double-digit days of school this winter. Franklin County Community Schools have missed the most days with 11, counting Tuesday. South Ripley has been off for 10.
“We will most definitely continue to keep the safety of our students and staff as our top priority in making the difficult decisions to close school,” says South Ripley Community Schools Superintendent Rob Moorhead.
Superintendents typically have the final say in whether a school district runs on a normal schedule, is delayed, or cancels classes. They are up at 4:00 a.m. driving roads and reading weather forecasts to help them in making the right decision.
Lawrenceburg Schools have been out nine days, along with five days of two-hour delays. Superintendent Karl Galey says the district will use as make-up days the first week of a two-week spring break built into their calendars.
“We’ll look at adding days to the end of the school year starting on June 2 unless we considered other creative ideas. Graduation is scheduled for June 7, so there are some days before graduation,” Galey said.
South Ripley Schools will use a similar strategy, says Moorhead.
“The balanced calendar has been a real benefit, as we have eight makeup days built into our calendar,” he said. “We already used MLK day and will use Presidents Day as well. We will also use all five days of our Provisional Spring Break week from March 17-21… We still have one built in makeup day left to use, which is Good Friday.”
Moorhead stressed that South Ripley will not use any days during the standard spring break March 24-28 as make up days. So, families who have booked airline tickets to Florida won’t need to worry.
Milan schools have now missed eight days. Superintendent Paul Ketham says ISTEP+ test preparation is a consideration in deciding where missed days will be made-up. Three of the first days of Spring Break have already been eaten up.
“If we miss any additional days between now and spring break – those days will be made up on Thursday and Friday, March 20 and 21, of the first provisional week of spring break. I felt it was in the best interest of our students to have as many instructional days as possible before our high stakes ISTEP testing,” Ketcham said.
South Dearborn Community Schools have been out 10 days counting Tuesday and four days on a delay, according to Superintendent John Mehrle.
“It has been frustrating for all of us. Like you, we yearn for a return to our normal routines,” Mehrle wrote in a letter to parents Tuesday.
The district will also use its first week of spring break for make-up days. Good Friday, Memorial Day, and the second week of spring break will remain as off-days for South Dearborn, no matter what.
Most southeast Indiana school districts also plan to utilize a waiver from the Indiana Department of Education for the two days of extreme cold January 6th and 7th, so those days won’t need to be made up. Indiana law requires 180 days of student instruction. Mehrle said he’s heard discussion that additional waivers could be granted.
There is a silver lining to all the snow days, Mehrle believes.
“Hopefully, it has provided you and your family with an opportunity to engage in activities that our busy lifestyles many times prevent or limit,” he told parents.