Snow days a plenty, APS adjusts schedules to make up cancelled days; Pair of half days may be changed to full days

Published 8:11 am Thursday, February 14, 2019

We’re running out of creative ways to say that Austin Public Schools had another snow day.

During Monday’s Austin School Board meeting, officials unanimously approved a motion to help make up the number of instructional days that were missed because of inclement weather.

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One of the ways APS planned to address the missed instructional days was to change March 6 and March 29, which were originally scheduled for early release, to now full regular days. According to Superintendent David Krenz, the school board planned to revisit the issue again at the end of March, in which officials could see if other scheduling changes are needed to help meet the state mandated minimum by the end of the school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dave Krenz

“If we should have anymore (snowdays) we will look at other dates,” Krenz said. “We don’t know yet, and I hope we don’t. That’s our hope.”

Since schools are allotted a number of accrued time for snow days (Austin has had seven snow days), several districts statewide have possibly considered approaching state Legislature to pass temporary accommodations to help schools that may miss hitting the minimum number of instruction days, according to the Associated Press.

From Krenz’s more than four decade career in education, he said that this winter was the most number of cancellations that he had experienced because of snow.

“It’s just been unbelievable,” he added.

Once districts are surveyed from the Minnesota Department of Education and other associations to determine the need for assistance, then it’s possible legislation could be passed. Gov. Tim Walz had previously stated that he would not penalize schools for the missed number of instruction days because of their attempts to keep students safe from the weather.

APS does not plan to seek this type of accommodation yet, but the organizations that he belongs to with fellow superintendents and that the Austin School Board belongs to, are working on their behalf. It’s unknown as of now if the weather has calmed down.

“If we are asked to testify, we sure will,” Krenz said. “We haven’t been at this point. Weather reports nothing in our area for another week or couple of weeks. Beyond that, it’s too far to predict, but we do know that March is one of the snowiest months.”