Area schools calculate make up days after numerous closings

WEST MICHIGAN — As the snow and ice piled up, so did snow days for all area schools. Local school districts have accumulated anywhere from 10 to 17 school closings due to inclement weather.

Although the weather has been settling down this week, assistant superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District Mark Klumpp said the number of days schools will have to make up for their missed time is not set in stone.

“We’re not in the clear yet,” he said. “We’ve been working with districts to calculate how many days they’ll have to make up, but before April 1, schools still might need to add make-up days or hours to their calendars. We have to get through the month of March before days can be forgiven.”

The state requires 1098 hours of classroom instruction along with either a minimum of 170 school days or a match of the schedule set by schools in the 2009-10 school year. The minimum amount of snow days the state allows is six; unfortunately, all area schools have exceeded their limit thanks to the unusual amount of snow they received this winter.

The way the schools make up their time, said Klumpp, depends on their personal preference. Some schools can use professional development, add time onto the regular school day or tack more half days or full days onto the calendar.

Since every district is different, scheduling school days according to their past record and preferences, schools could miss the same number of days, but one might not have to make up as many days as the other.

For example, despite exceeding the six day snow day limit by four days, Reed City Area Public Schools doesn’t have to make up any school time at this point, thanks to the extended number of days it had planned at the beginning of the year.

“We are in good shape right now,” said RCAPS Superintendent Tim Webster. “We had 174 days scheduled and some extra hours. We’ve used up the state’s six days, and our four extra. We’ve got about two extra hours left, so we could have a two-hour delay and not have to make it up. At this point, we don’t have to make anything up, but if something happens, we’ll have to start looking at doing that.”

Klumpp and his team have been working with the local districts to come up with estimates for their missed days and the number of days they have to make up. He provided the following statistics, emphasizing that the numbers could change at any time:

  • Evart Public Schools missed 11 days, may not need to make up any;
  • Reed City Area Schools missed 10 days, may not need to make up any;
  • Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District missed 14 days, may have to make up seven;
  • Big Rapids Public Schools missed 13 days, may have to make up seven;
  • Crossroads Charter Academy missed 13 days, may have to make up four;
  • Pine River Area Schools, which is part of the Wexford-Missaukee ISD, has missed eight days, may not need to make up any.

At present, superintendents are crossing their fingers and hoping that no more school will have to be missed.