School closings, possible make-up days in discussion

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

Due to bad weather, area school districts have had to either close early or cancel school altogether on several occasions so far this winter, including four days in a row in one recent week.

There is plenty of winter left for further potential school shutdowns and challenges, but, even so, area district administrators and school districts have been thinking about how the spate of closings will affect the school year and whether days or hours will have to be added.

“I am in the process of calculating the time missed and whether or not we have enough time built in to our schedule to accommodate the days we have missed so far this school year,” said Dr. Gary Albrecht, interim district administrator at Wauzeka-Steuben. “Even if not beyond the threshold of having to make up time at this point, there are two to three more months when severe weather could close school resulting in more lost time.

“I am concerned about families with their plans, our teachers who need well-planned time to be at the top of their game, and most importantly our students, as we try to figure out a make-up schedule, if utilized, that will be conducive to learning.

“Consequently, I have called a meeting of our Continuous School Improvement Committee Thursday, Feb. 7 in the school LMC to get input from staff and parents/families so that a recommendation can be made to the board.  

“We have several options to consider including (1) adding minutes to remaining days (2) extending a given number of days (3) scheduling additional full days as needed (4) combination of the above.  

“I am sure that our discussion next Thursday will provide direction to administration and board to make a decision that is in the best interest of our school community.”

Dr. Jeff Athey, superintendent at River Ridge, said, “I will speak with the Business Office to see where we are at with missed hours and minutes then it will be determined if we will add minutes onto the day, take something away at Easter break, or extend the school year.”

Seneca District Administrator David Boland said make-up days at Seneca are handled as follows: first day off and third day off are forgiven. All other days are scheduled to be made up. Boland said the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 1 was unusual. “I do not remember ever having off four days in a row due to weather,” he said. 

Boland also said discussions of extending the year are preliminary because it is only part way through the winter season. “We could have additional challenges down the road,” he said.

Prairie du Chien District Administrator Robert Smudde said possible make-up days will be discussed at the next school board meeting. “There will be some time that needs to be made up, but the board has not, as of yet, made a determination of how we will do that,” he said.

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