The impact of February’s heavy snowfall is still being felt in area school districts, where administrators are deciding when – or if – missed days will have to be added to the calendar. Factored into the mix is the fact that a formal state of emergency was issued, making it possible for districts to seek a waiver for two days of education.
Most districts have some “snow days” built into their schedule, to be taken as days off unless needed. Those are the first to go.
Here’s a look at local districts and what they have planned so far.
The district was closed a total of five days – Feb. 4 and 5, then three days the following week, Feb. 11-13.
So the “snow days” that kids and parents were hoping to enjoy are now gone. Those were built into the calendar for March 22 and May 24 but, now, school will be in session.
That leaves three days to deal with.
When members of the Enumclaw School Board met the evening of Feb. 25, they voted to seek a two-day waiver to the required 180 days of instruction. The waiver request was sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction the following day; a decision from OSPI is not expected for a week or two.
If the waiver request is approved, the district will have just one day to make up. That would be tacked onto the end of the school year, making Friday, June 21, the final day. If the request is denied, two more days will be added to the end of the year, meaning students will be expected in class through Tuesday, June 25.
Administrators in the Buckley-based district haven’t formalized their plans for the four days school was cancelled.
According to the district’s contract with teachers, all snow days must be made up at the end of the school year. In White River, the final day – according to the existing calendar – is planned for Friday, June 14. That means students will attend class at least two days the following week, June 17-18, assuming two days are waived by OSPI.
Students in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District thought they would finish the school year on June 20, but that is no longer the case.
February’s winter weather brought six days of cancellations. Like others, the district will petition OSPI to waive the two days that fell within the “state of emergency” declaration, but the remaining days will need to be made up.
The district’s communications staff reported that there are no “snow days” built into the calendar. In an email, district staff said, “we’ll be adding days to the end of the school year, but at this time, we’re unsure how many.”
The smallest of the local districts was closed three days in February for snow reasons and also missed a day in January when the entire community lost power.
The district had two snow days built into the school calendar and used the first of those last Friday, March 1. The second will come May 28, when teachers and students will spend a Tuesday in class instead of turning Memorial Day into a four-day weekend.
Superintendent Scott Hubbard said the K-8 district will be petitioning OSPI to waive the other two days. The rationale is simple: the state requires districts to provide 1,027 hours of instruction and Carbonado is well over that mandate, currently providing 1,056 hours. Unlike most other districts, Hubbard explained, Carbonado does not have early-release days throughout the academic year so students spend more time with their teachers.
The district’s current calendar calls for eighth-grade graduation on June 10 and the last day of school on June 11.