Some Milton High School students have given shout-outs to @SuperinTIMdent on Twitter for their impromptu six-day weekend.
For those who don’t know, @SuperinTIMdent is Milton Superintendent Tim Schigur’s Twitter handle. Schigur said he finds the students’ manner of voicing approval for recent snow days amusing.
But he and other school district officials soon must determine how to make up class time lost during this frigid week, which was so cold it forced local schools to close and Gov. Tony Evers to declare a state of emergency.
The state Department of Public Instruction mandates that districts offer at least 437 hours of instruction for kindergartners, 1,050 hours for first through sixth grades and 1,137 hours for seventh through 12th grades per academic year.
Officials from several school districts weighed in on if and how their school calendars will be affected by the recent weather.
Patrick Gasper, public information officer for the Janesville School District, said officials are considering their options.
Officials have closed schools five days this year for weather, four of which were this week.
The district can miss up to two school days without violating the state’s hours requirement. Officials need to think of a plan for the other three days missed so far and more missed days that could come, Gasper said.
School now will be in session May 24, a day that was reserved as a makeup day, Gasper said.
The district has not yet decided how to make up the remaining days, but it has options, he said. They include adding extra school days in June, adding more time to existing school days, or changing teacher planning days to instructional days.
About 10 years ago, the Janesville district held classes on a Saturday to make up for missed school days, but Gasper said that was not well-received and likely won’t happen again.
Officials likely will wait until spring to make final decisions, Gasper said.
Milton School District officials are holding off on final decisions about makeup days for a couple of reasons, said Schigur, the superintendent.
First, Evers could exempt districts from making up class time during the state of emergency. Schigur said he hopes the state will “recognize the uniqueness” of this week and grant an exemption.
In addition, Wisconsin winters are unpredictable, and the possibility of more cancellations exists for another month or so, Schigur said.
Like Janesville, the Milton district could add school days in June or extra minutes to the day to make up time, he said.
Evansville Superintendent Jerry Roth said no makeup plans are set in stone yet.
Evansville was one of few school districts that held classes Tuesday, and it has closed schools only four days this year, Roth said.
In recent years, the district has added extra minutes to the school day to counteract days off, and it likely will do so again this year, he said.
However, a final decision won’t be made until March or early April, when the possibility of school cancellations is lower.
Superintendent Dennis McCarthy said the district will use Feb. 22 and April 22 as makeup days, pending school board approval Feb. 11.
“We have adequate hours built into our schedule as a whole, and this will allow us to continue to have a buffer in case up to two additional days are needed, without further adjustment,” McCarthy wrote in an email.
Beloit Turner has longer school days—7.5 hours—than many school districts, which gives the district more wiggle room, he said.
Superintendent Jim Brewer is meeting with district officials Friday to plan for makeup days, he wrote in an email.
The Gazette was unable to reach Edgerton Superintendent Dennis Pauli for comment before press time.