As the January snow total climbs, so do the number of days students have missed due to closed schools.
Wyandotte students have five days to make up, dating back to the Christmas break blizzard as well as Friday’s time off. Quapaw still has four to make up and Miami must get in three days.
Miami made up one of its days off on Jan. 18, but is exploring options as to what to do for the additional two days — and any more that might accumulate.
The heavy snowfall on Friday, accompanied by cold temperatures, didn’t allow for much of a melt.
So some districts could still be out Monday.
“Monday could be dicey,” Quapaw Superintendent Dennis Earp said. “We need it to clear up and get a little clean-up time. A thaw and freeze could jeopardize things even on Monday. We will have to do what we did Friday and wait to see what happens. We should know by Sunday night.”
“Since the state went to 1,080 hours (in 2009’s revision of Statute 70-1-109), we will look at ways to utilize that,” Miami Superintendent Loretta Robinson said. “At this time, the final day for our students is May 27. If at all possible, we want to try to work something out.”
Statute 70-1-109 requires schools to be in session for no fewer than 180 days (taking out five for professional days).
But the revision allows schools to either operate on a daily or hourly basis.
Robinson said employee contracts are based on days, but Miami has taken the hourly option with the State Department of Education.
“There were a lot of schools that some of the legislators felt misused it (the hourly option) last year,” she said. “It wasn’t for the purpose of ending school early. It was for the purpose of inclement weather days. It helped us some there.”
“We go about 15 minutes day extra than what is required,” Earp said. “That calculates to around 6 1/2 days as vs. hours. We built it in so we wouldn’t have to make up days if we elected not to.”
If we went over that, we would have to make it up.
Earp said districts had to notify the state by Sept. 15 as to which method would be used.
"Now that we’ve had bad weather, some didn’t elect to and they have one time chance to change," Earp said. "Some schools don’t go more than the mandated minutes and some go more than required."
Students at Wyandotte have 390 minutes of instruction in a day as opposed to the minimum requirement of 360.
"We’re going 30 minutes more per day, so we’re actually banking time," Wyandotte Superintendent Troy Gray said. "We will discuss the calendar with the board once the weather has settled down. We will see if we need to come in some Fridays we’d anticipated for in-service or, if we have enough banked time, to continue on our regular schedule. That’s what we would like to do."