ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — School districts around the state are starting to make up days cancelled due to the extreme cold. In some cases, school was closed as many as six days this winter because of the sub-zero temperatures.
The state of Minnesota requires a minimum number of instructional hours each year for schools. Even though most districts build a cushion into their calendar, this winter presented quite a challenge with so many days of bad weather.
On Monday, the district posted an updated school calendar that shows the last day of school has been moved from June 6 to June 9.
Unfortunately, though, it moves the last day of school in St. Paul from Friday of one week, into Monday of another week — and a week that many families have already made other arrangements for their kids.
Monday, June 9 is a day that some St. Paul kids will celebrate the last day of class — or head off for the first day of a summer camp their parents signed them up for already.
“It was really a limited amount of options that we had and this one, while I understand probably doesn’t fit every family’s needs, it was the best of all the scenarios we could explore,” said Michelle Walker, the CEO of St. Paul Public Schools.
Cancellations because of the extreme cold, forced Minneapolis Public Schools to add two make-up days, Feb. 14 and March 28.
St. Paul school leaders say they looked at making up days before the end of the school year, but all presented challenges.
“When we weighed all of our options, in terms of days within in the year that were available, many of the days that could have been used were assigned for professional development or grading,” Walker said.
Parents said they get the predicament school leaders must be in.
Caleb McEwen has two kids in St. Paul schools.
“The school system has been put in a situation where they have an untenable situation where no matter where they try to make that day up, it’s going to make somebody upset. I think we just need to deal with it and realize there are some things out of our control,” McEwen said.
Jennifer Benke’s children go to school in Minnetonka, where no additional days are required so far.
“As a parent, I know we already have plans for even that weekend that school is out, so we’d be very hard-pressed to make changes to those plans since they involve out of town travel,” Benke said.
At the beginning of the school year, St. Paul had five extra days built in to the calendar, which is usually a good cushion. But they ended up taking six days off, thus the need to add just one more day.
School district officials are aware a lot kids won’t be there for the last day because of family vacation plans or camps they’ve already paid for.
While there won’t be any real penalty for not attending, for students, that last day of school is often one where you have some sort of celebration.