Northland schools weigh options on make-up snow days

By KBJR News 1

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 11, 2014 at 6:37 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The polar vortex this winter has created many problems in the Northland...even more so for school districts.

So far this winter students in the Duluth and Superior school districts have each missed seven days, calling for makeup at the end of the year, or possibly even extended school hours during the week.

The Duluth Education Committee met Tuesday afternoon to discuss how best to move forward.

The Duluth school board is considering a combination of additional school days at the end of the school year as well as extended school days, to make up the mandatory lost class time.

The school board favored a plan to extend the school year by one day...letting kids out on June 6th.

In addition to that the district proposes using a staff development day on Friday May 16th, to make up another day.

The rest of the time could be made up by extending each school day by 12 minutes beginning Monday March 24th through the end of the year.

"Hopefully this beautiful weather will continue and we won't have to deal with anymore, but we always do have the possibility. As we saw last year when we had three days in April and lets all knock on wood that that doesn't happen again this year," said Duluth superintendent, Bill Gronseth.

The board is expected to vote on this proposal at their next meeting on March 18th.

In Wisconsin, the legislature is weighing in on the problem.

The Superior school district, which has also had seven snow days, says decisions about adding days are on hold until a proposal goes through the legislature, that would waive the annual 180 school day requirement.

If passed Wisconsin schools still need to meet federal requirements on minutes and hours of school.

To meet that requirement Superior administrators say they could consider later dismissal time for the remaining school days, or extending the school year until June 17th.

The Wisconsin legislature is expected to vote within the next week.

Superior school district officials say they may send out surveys asking parents how best to make up the lost time.

Elsa Robins