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Students may not make up snow day
What should be April showers has been ice and snow instead throughout the region the past few weeks, leading to a third TCU snow day on Thursday, April 11. While it may have been a joy for students wanting a break from classes, the day off has left the Tri-City United administration having to decide whether or not the day should be made up. According to Superintendent Matt Helgerson, teachers are contracted to be at school a certain number of days while students are required by law to complete a set amount of school hours. Kindergarten students must attend school 425 hours; Grades 1-6 must attend 935 hours and 7-12 are required to complete 1,020 hours.
Last week the board approved a request from Helgerson to allow Monday, May 6, which was originally scheduled as an early-out day, to be a full teacher workshop day, giving students the entire day off. This met with some opposition from Board Member Kevin Huber who brought up the April 1 "spring break" day that was changed back to a full school day. Helgerson later explained: "At that point we could have gotten multiple more snow days (potentially) and April 1 was a potential instructional date that was available prior to the MCA Assessments. In addition, that is what the calendar stated and what is called for in the teacher contract."
Early this week, Helgerson shared the draft of a letter he is planning to send to district parents and staff regarding a plan of action for the April 11 snow day make-up. He explained that because a consultant is scheduled to come to TCU on May 6 to meet with staff about upgrading curricula standards, he is recommending to the school board and to the teacher's union, to keep May 6 as a staff day as planned, and to have only the staff make-up the recent snow day, not the students. He said the students will still have enough hours for the year.
"This additional staff day will be used to continue our curriculum work and provide another day for staff development in preparation for summer work and the 2013-14 school year," Helgerson's letter stated.
A specific date for the staff make-up day has not been determined. Helgerson's recommendation will go before the board at the workshop meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 22 in the high school band room.