Snow piles on additional days

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By Bryan Marshall

The end of the year for students has been pushed back as snow days keep piling up for Grant County and Williamstown Independent Schools.

Grant County Schools have missed eight days in December and January so far with more wintry weather expected.

At this time last year, the district had missed half as many days on its way to a total of 10 missed days.

The last day for students now has been moved from May 12 to May 25, but more snow would push the end of school back even further.

“We started school early this year to forego this issue and try to get out by June,” said Al Poweleit, director of pupil personnel for Grant County Schools. “We started school on Aug. 12. A lot of schools got out on the 17th of December for Christmas break. We went to the 22nd to try to recapture some of those days. That didn’t work out for us. You try things, but we’re not even at the end of January or into February yet and that’s where we took some hits last year.”

If the district misses more than 12 days, there is a possibility making up the instruction time could cut into days coveted by students.

“Hopefully, we won’t have to take it, but there is an option for the board to take the first three days of Spring Break,” said Poweleit, who plans on surveying staff, faculty, as well as parents, for input on next year’s calendar.

The district still has six early release days scheduled that will stay on the calendar.

In Williamstown, things are a little better.

Williamstown Independent Schools have only called off school three times so far this year.

“They’ve got really steep places where buses have to go,” David Poer, director of pupil personnel, said about why they can go to school when Grant cancels classes. “That’s different for us. They have a lot tougher situation in that regard.”

The last day now for Williamstown students is May 24 instead of May 20.

The next two snow days would be made up Feb. 22 and Feb. 21, respectively, when the district was scheduled to be off.

Any further missed days beyond the next two would be added to the end of the school calendar.

When making up the school calendar, it is imperative to factor in potential inclement weather, said Poer, a member of the district’s calendar committee.

“Ultimately, we want to get the majority of instruction finished prior to the state testing (in late April),” he said. “So, we have to look and see how we can get this down the best way for our kids. That drives us.”

Unlike last year, the district decided not to include banked time to account for two makeup days through adjusted class schedules.

For Poer, he hopes the bad weather is a thing of the past.

“I’m an optimist at heart,” he said. “So, we’re hoping that the snow’s going to end, the sun will be shining and it’s all good.”

Below, is Channel 5's Randi Rico's forecast for the snow storm Thursday.


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