Districts look to make up lost time from bad weather

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory is forcing local school officials to think about the possibility of make-up days.

After Tuesday’s round of cancellations, the Niles and Brandywine school districts had officially used up their allotted bad weather days.

The state allows schools to miss up to six days before they begin to lose state aid.

“This is a very unusual winter,” said Richard Weigel, superintendent of Niles Community Schools. “Keeping our kids safe is a priority, so with the amount of snow, slippery roads and very cold weather, it has been unusual to have this many days off school.”

Weigel said his district is the equivalent of one day over the limit, while Brandywine Supt. John Jarpe said his district is a half day over the limit.

Jarpe said there is a possibility that schools would be allowed to tag on time to the end of the school day to make up the missed time as State lawmakers passed a bill permitting that last year. That could be five or 10 minutes a day, he said, depending on how much time needs to be made up. However, such a law hasn’t been passed for the current school year

“If that isn’t practical then we may have to look at adding some days in June,” Jarpe said.

Schools throughout Michiana were canceled Monday and Tuesday as temperatures dropped well below zero and blowing snow made road conditions dangerous.

With several weeks of winter remaining, there remains the possibility of more cancellations.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet,” Jarpe said.