Cold weather days to be made up at local schools

The ISD 166 school board held a special meeting on the morning of Friday, January 31, 2014 to discuss how to make up for time missed due to the unusually high number of winter related school closings for the district so far this year. Students have lost just over six instructional days this school year.

The school had originally scheduled 1,101 instructional hours for the year and are currently on pace to achieve a total of 1,066 hours barring any further weather related absences.

The state requires schools to have a minimum of 1,020 instructional hours per year.

ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz said, “The State of Minnesota has said there will be no penalty because of extreme weather; no loss of funding for not making up days.”

However, Schwarz, and Peter James of Great Expectations School (which follows the ISD 166 school calendar) both expressed concern about the loss of instructional time.

The school board ultimately decided to make up two of the lost days on Friday, February 14 and Friday, March 14.

Schwartz said, “I realize February 14 is short notice but we have limited choices.”

She added that for future years it has already been decided to set certain days as potential make up days in the case of day missed due to bad weather.

Another concern is the possibility of more weather related time off. Schwarz said her “Farmer’s Almanac gut feeling” tells her that when the weather warms, there will be more snow and the potential for more cancellations in February and March. Anderson said, “None of us has a crystal ball.”

A second motion was made by Chair Jeanne Anderson and also unanimously approved that stated that if the school has additional closings between February 1 and March 21, the dates of February 28, April 11 and/or April 25 will be instructional days as deemed necessary by the superintendent and the board chair, with a 10 school day notice.