MORRIS -- After a quiet 2011 to 2012, the Morris Area School District has had a higher-than-usual number of snow days for the 2012 – 2013 school year. Making up the missed days will push the last day of school into June.
So far this winter, the Morris Area School District has cancelled school four times, started late six times and dismissed early once.
“In a perfect world, we'd try to figure out a way to make up all the time,” said Morris Area Superintendent Scott Monson. “Any time that we miss there are certainly things going on that kids are missing.”
However, the state only requires the district to make up days that school is missed completely – Jan. 31, Feb. 11, Feb. 19 and March 5 – to meet the district's requirement to hold 174 “student contact days” in the calendar year, Monson said.
Schools typically deal with make-up days in one of two ways: some build in extra days at the end of the school calendar, then let students out early if they don't miss school. Others, like Morris Area, build in vacation days throughout the year that can be used to make up days missed because of inclement weather, said Monson.
The district has already made up one snow day, having students report to class on Monday, Feb. 18. The rest of the snow days are scheduled to be made up on Friday, March 15; Monday, April 1; and Monday, June 3.
In a typical year, the district has about three snow days and only two or three late starts, Monson said.
The decision to cancel school isn't one that is taken lightly. Monson works closely with Transportation Director Deann Recker and the Stevens County Highway Department to look at weather reports, the radar and the road conditions to see if it is safe, or even possible, to send buses out to pick up students.
“We want kids in school, obviously we feel that's important,” said Monson. “But in the same sense, there's just times when we can't send the buses out and we can't expect our families and students to drive on the road conditions we experience.”