Clark County R-1 school district is wrestling with the number snow days this season. As of Wednesday, January 30, 2019, the district had missed 11 days for weather, plus one for a threat at the middle school last fall.
“Tomorrow will be day 12,” Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht said. “And Friday doesn’t look too good.”
“I don’t think we’ve ever had this many,” he added.
With the exception of the extreme cold on Wednesday and Thursday, the reason has been dangerous road conditions.
"With this cold, we would have been out Wednesday and Thursday. The buses' diesel fuel could gel," Kracht said.
Clark County R-1 runs 16 bus routes that cover around 1300 miles per day, most of them being secondary and gravel roads.
“136 and 27 are fine because they put down salt and chemicals,” Kracht said. “The ‘letter roads’ are terrible because they haven’t. We’ve contacted MoDOT, but they haven’t be able to do anything. Schools in Iowa and Illinois have been having classes because they use salt on all their roads.”
Kracht explained the process of deciding whether or not to have school.
“We go out and check the roads to determine if it’s safe for buses, and for vehicles driven by parents, students and staff,” Kracht said.
“We like to make that decision as early as possible, so that families can make child care arrangements. Sometimes the weather moves in overnight, so our deadline is 6:00am, because the buses start rolling at 6:30.”
Because it looks like the district will miss an entire two-week period of school, 10 days will have to be made up.
Missouri statute 171.033.4, RSMO, requires that “In the 2009-2010 school year and subsequent years, a school district may be exempt from the requirement to make up days of school lost or canceled due to inclement weather in the school district when the school district has made up the six days required under subsection 2 of this section and half the number of additional lost or canceled days up to eight days, resulting in no more than 10 total make-ups days required by this section.”
To make up the ten days, the district will hold classes on Monday, February 4, which had been scheduled as a professional development day."
“After missing two weeks, we think the kids need to be in class. Even the kids are tired of snow days,” Kracht said.
The next make-up day will be Presidents’ Day, February 18. The rest will be added to the end of the school calendar.
“The last day of school was supposed to be May 14. We’ll be in school that week from the 15th to 17, and the following week from the 20th to the 24th,” Kracht said. “If we miss any more, than we will have class on the Monday after spring break, March 18.”
Days of school missed for reasons other than weather, such as water break or power outage, have be made up, according to state law.
“Hopefully, nothing crazy happens in the spring,” he added.