School board to decide on snow day makeup next month

Published 4:08 pm Saturday, February 22, 2014

Though Austin Public Schools students have likely enjoyed all of the extra time off this year, Austin Public Schools officials will need to decide whether to add to the school year after the district shut down for the fifth time this winter.

Austin Superintendent David Krenz said the Austin Public Schools board will have the final say, but it will be a few weeks before board members make a decision.

“March 10 would be the earliest any action could be taken,” Krenz said.

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The board will likely spend part of its retreat on Monday discussing snow days, though board members will focus on their strategic planning session for most of the time from noon to 4 p.m. inside the district conference room at Austin High School.

From a classroom perspective, Austin isn’t obligated to make up snow days. Minnesota requires at least 935 hours of elementary class time and 1,020 hours of middle and high school class time. Austin is far above the state-mandated classroom time.

Yet the district also builds three snow days into teacher contracts before requiring teachers to make up any lost time. Those contracts are the catalyst behind the current discussions.

The school calendar further complicates the board’s decision. Students only get two full days off, March 27 and 28, for spring break this year, and Krenz said families may have already made plans for that time. In addition, adding days in June could decrease student attention during the last days of school.

The board’s next full meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 10.