February 5, 2009 in Washington Voices

Freeman, Liberty will make up snow days

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Freeman and Liberty School Districts are among those who 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 one day up, 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.

West Valley School District, which had previously announced makeup days on Feb. 13 and May 22, decided this week to add three additional makeup days to the end of the school year. Students will now attend school through June 17. That keeps the district in line with neighboring districts, said Superintendent Polly Crowley. East Valley is now ending on June 19 and Central Valley is also ending on June 17.

The district dismissed the idea of adding minutes to the school day like it did last year to make up lost days. “Secondary teachers didn’t like that model very much,” Crowley said. “It’s much cleaner and easier to just do the days of school.”


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