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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 03/26/14
RCS to make up four days
due to harsh winter
by CHRIS GRAYRecord-breaking snowfalls and temperatures are forcing Romeo Community Schools to take time out of summer vacation to recoup lost time.
Observer Staff Writer
The National Weather Service reports that a total of 90.7 inches of snow has fallen in the Detroit area as of March 20, making it the second snowiest of all time. The record is 93.6 inches set in 1880-81.
Combined with 13 days of below-zero temperatures, roads have become hazardous to traverse, and waiting for buses is a dangerous situation.
Aside from breaking records, the latest snowstorm on March 12 caused another school closure in a season that has forced districts to use up their six forgiven days.
For Romeo Community Schools, about four days will need to be made up before the year is out. Superintendent Nancy Campbell said the district is looking at changing half days at the end of the year into full days to recoup lost time.
"We'll still need to go into that week of June 8," she said.
State law requires 1,098 hours of instruction, but provides for six days to be counted against them for severe weather, illness outbreaks or building emergencies. House Bill 5285 allows schools to add minutes to days to make up for the time, but encourages full days.
If districts don't make up that time, they risk losing state aid funding. Campbell said the decision to have school on March 13 when districts north of Romeo closed was based on roads being safe, not by being over on snow days.
"I do not make decisions based on that, I make it based on student safety," she said.
She said the decision to close school is based on the transportation director driving the roads at 3 a.m. to determine if they're safe for buses. She said information sent in from parents and staff are also considered.
She believes the possibility of having the days waived by the state has grown slim. The state Board of Education decided last month that snow days should be replaced with full days of instruction.
"Full replacement days offer every student the full extent of quality instruction that they missed when the school was closed," the board said in a statement.
Campbell said the district would likely wait until April to put out a calendar, saying she has already received calls from residents saying they need to reschedule trips.
"One parent told me they had to postpone a big trip to Europe so they can make sure their kids are in school when we have school," she said.