February 5, 2009 in Washington Voices

Freeman, Liberty make up some snow days

Districts applying for waiver from state to release schools from 180-day rule
By The Spokesman-Review

The Freeman and Liberty School Districts are among those which have announced plans to make up some of the days they were forced to shut down because of this winter’s storm.

Liberty has already made up one day, holding classes on a curriculum day scheduled for Jan. 26. Another makeup day is set for March 6. The district will apply for a waiver with the state to cover the other four days.

Normally school districts are required to be open for 180 days and provide each student with 1,000 hours of instruction. Since the governor declared a state of emergency, districts can apply for a waiver to release them from the 180-day rule. Schools are still required to provide 1,000 hours of instruction.

“We’re doing about what we did last year,” said Liberty Superintendent Bill Motsenbocker. “If we could make those up during times before the WASL and other times besides that third week in June, then we would most likely take that opportunity.”

The district is reluctant to add days to the school year in June and doesn’t want to worry about changing the date of graduation, he said.

Freeman will make up one of its missed days on March 13, said Superintendent Sergio Hernandez. Freeman was also reluctant to add days to the school calendar in June, but for a different reason. The high school reconstruction project is set to begin in late April or May. “Because we’re going into construction, we do need to vacate the premises as quickly as possible,” he said.

The district will apply for a waiver to cover the other three missed days.

The only thing that could throw a wrench into the plans is another big storm. “If we miss any more snow days, which we’re hoping we don’t, the board will look at it,” Motsenbocker said.

Nina Culver can be reached at 927-2158 or via e-mail at ninac@spokesman.com.

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