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Does Oakridge Have to Make Up Any Snow Days?

Oakridge Staff and Community,

The past few weeks have certainly been for the record books.  Snow, ice, and temperature have wreaked havoc with your daily schedules.  Oakridge has been closed 10 days as of today, Thursday, February 7, due to the weather and winter is not yet over.  I imagine people are wondering about the impact these 10 snow days will have on our school calendar. Let me take this moment to address those questions and concerns.

 

Does Oakridge Have to Make Up Any Snow Days?

As of today, Thursday, February 7, Oakridge Public Schools has used 10 snow days. Section 101(4) of the State School Aid Act provides districts with six (6) days of “forgiven time” that can be used when pupil instruction is canceled due to conditions outside the control of school authorities, such as severe storms, fires, health conditions, and infrastructure issues. These initial days can be used at any point throughout the year without prior authorization from the Michigan Department of Education given the cancelation falls within the acceptable reasons.  As such, the first 6 snow days at Oakridge are “forgiven time”.

In addition, Section 101(4) provides Michigan’s State Superintendent the authority to allocate up to three (3) additional days of “forgiven time” to districts to be used when instruction was not provided due to unusual and extenuating occurrences resulting from conditions not within the control of school authorities, such as those described above.  The request for additional forgiven time (beyond the first 6) must be submitted after the cancelations have occurred.   As such, I will be requesting that the State Superintendent forgive the 3 additional snow days (number 7, 8, and 9).  I will notify the staff and community on the outcome of this request as soon as possible. State Superintendent Sheila Alles has indicated she will exercise her authority fairly.  I anticipate approval of the request for forgiveness of the additional 3 snow days.

Under existing law and assuming that Superintendent Alles approves the above request, this means Oakridge will have to make up 1 snow day unless more occur.  Per collective bargaining agreements and contracts within the district, the school calendar will be extended one day in June.  The makeup snow day from today, February 7th  will occur on Thursday, June 13.

 

What About Using Our Scheduled Breaks to Offset Makeup Days?

Mid-winter and spring breaks are predetermined dates that are built into the negotiated school calendar.  Many families and employees make advanced plans for traveling. We will not be canceling either break to make up school closure dates.

 

Will the Legislature Change the Law to Forgive More Days?

There have been discussions in Lansing about this topic.  However, there has not yet been a bill introduced. I cannot yet speak to the potential of this option but will be exploring it.  Stay tuned.

 

Will There Be More Snow Days?

There are many steps taken when deciding whether we should close or delay school due to weather. Snow accumulations, “real feel” temperatures (aka: windchill and temperatures), and road conditions on main as well as secondary and side roads are all contributing factors. Every district in Muskegon County sends a representative out to test these factors and communicate amongst each other hours before the first bus leaves the parking lot to pick up students. We try our best to have decisions made and communicated to everyone by 5:30 am based on these judgments.  

 

I would like to reiterate that we make decisions to delay or close school based on student and staff safety….not how many snow days we have used in a year.  Our first priority is to the safety of our students and staff. Balancing this priority with providing the gift of time for kids to learn in our classrooms is, at times, challenged from unanticipated circumstances.   Thank you all for your continued support and help throughout these past few weeks, as it has been difficult to get through exams and the end of the marking period. I truly appreciate everything that each of you do to support this district and our students.

Let’s hope for an early spring!  

Sincerely,

Tom Livezey
Superintendent

 

 

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