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Some school districts out of budgeted snow days

Published On: Mar 11 2013 01:09:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 08:58:09 PM CST


Some school districts have used all their budgeted snow days, and a number of schools will likely be closed again Tuesday due to another snowstorm.

Area school districts said students will have to make some of the days up, even if it means coming in on a weekend.

DeForest is one of the districts in the area that has run out of planned-for snow days. The DeForest School District has canceled school three times so far this winter and brought students in late another three times.

"We have to make sure we're in compliance with (the Department of Public Instruction) and the expectations for numbers of minutes kids are in schools at each of the levels, so you're always trying to balance how to make sure you can accommodate those days," said Jon Bales, DeForest superintendent.

State law requires schools to schedule 180 days, and five of those days can be used for parent-teacher conferences or inclement weather.

"Separate from that is a separate requirement in state law which involves hours of instruction. There's a minimum number of hours of instruction that must be held in a school year," said Patrick Gasper, of the state Department of Public Instruction.

That requirement breaks down to 437 hours for kindergarten, 1,050 hours for first through sixth grade and 1,137 hours for seventh through 12th grades.

"The first few snow days you don't need to make up and you're still within those parameters. Beyond that, you need to figure out ways to increase instructional time," Bales said.

That's why DeForest is adding five minutes to its school day starting March 18 and turning two half-days into full days.

If there are any more snow days, summer break will start getting cut to make up the time.

"Knowing that we have another big snowstorm forecasted for the next couple of days, I expect we're not done with this yet," Bales said.

The Madison Metropolitan School District has turned the last day of school for elementary students from a half-day into a full day.

Most school districts said if school is closed Tuesday, they will add the time they need to make up at the end of the year.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District has also hit its limit, and district leaders are considering a Saturday to possibly make up for it, or Monday, June 10.

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