Snow Days Delay Last Day of School

By Rachel Martin

March 25, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – Looks like the snow has not only delayed Springtime, but also the end of the school year for many districts.

Area school districts have called for so many snow days that they're now adding to the end of their calendar. Many school districts have what they call, "built-in snow days" or “make-up days,” a day that students were scheduled to have off unless there was a snow day.

“A lot of schools, and we do this as well, have built-in snow days,” said Krista Stockman, Public Information Officer for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS). “So like May 17 is one of our built-in snow days. So if we had no cancellations this year then students would've had May 17 off.”

Some districts have already used up all their make-up days and now have to push back the last day of school.

21 Alive gathered statistics from six area school districts: FWCS, East Allen County Schools (EACS), Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS), Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS), Huntington County Community School System (HCCSC), and DeKalb County Central United School District.

The majority of the districts have had four snow days, with DeKalb Central having used five. Lucky for DeKalb Central, they’re on Spring Break this week, but the snow has caused all the districts to push their last days of school to the end of May or even into June.

• FWCS: Original last day was June 4, now June 7.
• EACS: Original last day was May 24, now May 31.
• NACS: Original last day was May 29, now May 31.
• SACS: Original last day was May 29, now June 4.
• HCCSC: Original last day was May 23, now May 30.
• DeKalb Central: Original last day was May 20, now May 28.

State law says school must be in session for 180 days, so if school is canceled those days must be made up.

“Some people think that there's a cushion and that maybe we don't have to make up every day, but we do in fact have to make up every day. We start off the year with a 180-day calendar and we end with a 180-day calendar. So we don't start off with 182 and give ourselves a cushion,” said Stockman.

Stockman says FWCS normally schedules their make-up days in May. Due to ISTEP and other state testing, the district was unable to fit their two days into May and therefore scheduled one on Feb. 18, which was President’s Day.

“Normally by that point in the season we have gone through the majority of our cancellations. In the last 10 years we’ve had 32 days that we’ve canceled and 75 percent of those came before Feb. 18,” said Stockman. “It turns out that this year we didn’t need it and all of our cancellations have come after that day, but that’s pretty unusual. Even in the year where we have had cancellations in late February or March, we’ve had cancellations prior to that too so it really seemed like a legitimate day to set as a make-up day.”

However, Stockman says FWCS graduation should not be affected by the snow days. She says after having to move graduation twice in the last six to seven years, FWCS has permanently moved graduation to a week and half after the last day of school, “which this year proves that was a wise decision,” she said. FWCS’ graduation ceremonies are June 14 and 15.

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