Extreme Winter Forces Some School Districts to Add Days

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Some local school districts are adjusting their calendars, to make up for days lost because of extreme winter weather.
On Wednesday night, the Eaton Rapids Public School Board approved a revised calendar, which adds 6 full days of instruction. Grand Ledge Public Schools has also revised it’s calendar, converting some half days into full days, and adding extra days.

At Eaton Rapids Middle School, students say they like snow days, but this year, they haven’t been able to enjoy them outside. Ethan Loomis says, "You can't really go outside because it's really cold."

The bone chilling temperatures, combined with several rounds of snow, have made it tough for the Eaton Rapids Public School District to keep the doors open. Superintendent William Defrance says it’s a matter of safety. "Two-thirds of our kids ride the buses every day, and we have a lot of back roads and a lot of the back roads are not paved. And so we've had everything from roads not being plowed to a thaw, and the thaw starts and then it doesn't get completed and then we end up with ice on the back roads."

So far this winter, Eaton Rapids schools have used 12 snow days, causing disruption in the classroom. Middle School Teacher Tom McClure says, “We are delivering what we are supposed to deliver, it's just not going at the pace or how we want it to go." Student Connor Nelson says he has mixed feelings. "One, it's really good to have some days off, but two, I'm really not looking forward to giving up a week of my summer." That’s about the price Eaton Rapids students will have to pay for mother nature’s wrath. The district revamped it’s calendar last night, to make up 6 snow days before the school year ends. Defrance says, "I anticipate that we will have to go almost the complete week after when we thought we would have ended school which was June 6th. So we'll go into the week of June 9th whatever we have to do to make up the days."

To receive state money, districts must offer at least 1,098 instructional hours or at least 170 days. Earlier this month, Michigan’s State Board of Education adopted a new policy, encouraging districts that had used up the 6 snow days, to add full days of instruction instead of minutes to the day.