Snow Days Adding Up for Area Schools

Posted at: 03/11/2013 3:55 PM
Updated at: 03/11/2013 6:37 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- That big cheer you heard early Monday was the sound of area school kids reacting to news of another snow day. But school officials are taking it a little more seriously.

“This is our fourth weather-related closure," Austin schools superintendent David Krenz told us.

A couple of years ago, the state changed its requirement that schools have a total number of days.

"The state of Minnesota sets minimal instructional hours," Krenz explained. “Even with the four days missed we're still well above the number of hours."

“If it was still days we would still have more days in than required by the state,” said Rochester Superintendent Michael Munoz.

Albert Lea students have missed three days because of the weather. That's also well within the state requirement for instructional hours, and there are no plans right now to make up any time.

Rochester students have missed three days to weather.

“We well exceed the number of hours that we need to put in in a school,” Munoz told us.

Mason City students were already scheduled to be off on Monday. But because Iowa regulations are different than those in Minnesota, students in Mason City will need to make up the three days they've missed because of the weather.

The first was made-up on President's Day, and the other two will be tacked onto the end of the school year in early June.

But instructional hours is only one part of the equation in Minnesota, the other part is the contractual part for staff members who are not paid hourly. That figure varies by school district.

"So the board will have to consider that as they look at making up time or not making up time," Krenz said.

And while it's dangerous to play "what if" with winter weather, the question remains, what if this isn't the end of it?

"I would think we're getting pretty close to really having to consider this hard from the instructional standpoint," Krenz told us.

“If we continue to have additional snow days we would have to have that conversation and first check the hours and make sure we meet the state requirements,” Munoz added.