Area schools face flurry of make-up days due to snow

Friday, February 18, 2011

With the month of February only half gone, area school districts have revised their school calendars to make up as many as 11 snow days so far.

Depending on the number of days missed, some districts eliminated spring break. Others pushed back the end of the school year.

The northern-most Oregon County district, Oregon-Howell R-3 in Koshkonong, missed six days for snow, while Alton students missed the most at 11 days. Thayer and Couch missed eight days and Mammoth Spring students were out of school nine days for snow.

Most superintendents said making the call to cancel school is a challenge.

"Any time there is a chance of snow, I'm up all night, checking the weather every hour," Thayer School District Superintendent Dan Chappell said Tuesday, Feb. 15. "It's not a call anyone wants to make."

Chappell said weather forecasts are not always exact, which led him to incorrectly cancel or not cancel classes.

Snow was predicted to start by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8. When it did not, the buses picked up students as usual the next morning.

"By 7:30 a.m., it was coming down pretty good," Chappell said of the snow.

Immediately after breakfast of biscuits and gravy, the district cancelled school.

"One student said it was his best school day ever," Chappell said. The Koshkonong district and others also were caught by surprise that day, he said.

With ice in the forecast, many local districts cancelled school on Tuesday, Feb. 1, only to see only rain that day.

Mammoth Spring School District Superintendent David Turnbough said the board there will meet on March 7 or 14 to discuss make-up days.

"More snow will dictate whether we add more days," Turnbough said.

Arkansas requires 178 student days, while Missouri sets the in-service days at 174. Missouri legislators have recently been presented a bill that would "forgive" any snow days from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4 this year.

Holly Reese, Alton School District special programs coordinator, said, if approved, the forgiven period will only reduce Alton's make-up days by one. Some area districts will have four days forgiven, she said.

Alton also has not confirmed a graduation date.

"We usually like to wait until the bad weather is over before we set the date," Reese said.

Couch School District, which originally had the earliest final day of school, has moved it back from May 6 to now May 12. It has also moved the third quarter from March 4 to March 14.

Most districts also are waiting to hear from the state whether they can change the MAP testing dates.

School calendar changes


Make-up days

Jan. 17, Feb. 21, April 1, April 25, May 13-19

Last day

May 19


To be determined


Make-up days

Feb. 21, April 8, April 11, April 26, May 9-12

Last day

May 12


To be determined


Make-up days

Jan. 17, Feb. 21, April 25, May 16-18

Last day

May 18


May 13

Mammoth Spring

To be determined

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