After the sixth school day out of the last 18 was canceled Tuesday, Oregon School District officials are figuring out how to adjust a schedule that will now extend past the original end of the 2018-19 school year.
School was canceled due to snow or low temperatures on four days last month – Jan. 23, 28, 30, 31 — and two so far in February, burning through the district’s allotted three “snow day” make-ups. It’s started to eat into the planned summer break in June, and could affect professional development days for staff.
While Friday, June 7, is the last day for seniors, the rest of the students are scheduled through a half-day on Wednesday, June 12, that will now likely be extended to a full day, with classes also on Thursday and Friday.
“The week after graduation, we likely will be in session for all of those days,” Busler said.
Despite the wishes of some Dane County public school superintendents who sent Gov. Tony Evers a letter, there will be no reprieve from him on waiving a pair of “cold days” in January when schools were closed.
“It looks like that’s not going to carry the day,” district superintendent Brian Busler told school board members Monday night.
The state requires at least 1,137 hours of instruction for grades 7 through 12, and at least 1,050 for grades 1 through 6.
With “four to five weeks of strong winter remaining,” Busler said it’s possible more canceled days are possible.
“(This is) the painful part,” he said. “Everyone loves the first snow day, but no one likes snow day five, six or seven, because it impacts having us having to make up those days.”
The district does have some options, Busler said, including changing a staff professional development day on April 23 to an instructional day, or adding minutes to remaining days. He said he’s putting together an administrative team to “work on the various options,” though “the challenging part is to know how many snow days we will have.”
“When you’re making up a full day, that’s a significant number of minutes (to add),” he said.
One option not on the table is holding classes on a Saturday, something Busler said “no parents or staff members have ever raised as a good option.”
“I wish I was giving everyone better news,” he said. “Everyone likes to know when the end of the school year is, but with this crazy winter weather we’ve had, it’s tough to do.
“I would be delighted if we were able to make it to spring break (March 25-29) without another snow day, but given this winter, I think it’s unlikely.”