Monday, Dec 18, 2017
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Education

Snow days lead Bedford, others to lengthen school year

TEMPERANCE -- Bedford Public Schools students will pay in June for the snow and ice that hit southeast Michigan in February.

The school district has refigured the academic calendar to extend the trimester to March 25 and the school year to the third week of June.

Superintendent Ted Magrum warned at a recent board of education meeting the school year will be extended to the week of June 13.

"I would not plan on any vacations the week of June 13. Right now, we are planning going the week of June 13 to June 15," Mr. Magrum said. "Depending on what Mother Nature throws at us in the next few weeks, any day that we cancel we will have to make up."

Bedford, like many schools in Monroe County, had a tortuous February because of inclement weather.

In the last week of the month, the district didn't have school because an ice storm knocked out power to many areas. When electricity was restored, the county was hit with a snowstorm.

School districts in Michigan must hold 1,098 hours of classtime each school year and are allowed to call off for classes for six days, or about 30 hours, without requiring them to make up the lost time.

Mr. Magrum said the requirement that schools hold classes for a minimum number of days, which in Bedford's case equates to about 169 days, wouldn't allow the district to tack on minutes to school days.

"The state has a requirement of hours and days. The question has been asked, why don't we just extend the day to make up the [lost] hours. You can't just do that," he said. "We have to make up the days at the end of the year."

The administration also ruled out making up lost days during spring break for several reasons, including the inconvenience it could cause for planned vacations and the possibility that students wouldn't show up.

The district needs 75 percent attendance to receive per-pupil funding from the state. Graduating seniors will not be affected by the change and their graduation ceremony will proceed as planned.

Monroe Public Schools has extended its school year by two full days to June 10. The school year was planned to end on June 8 with a half day of school.

Bobb Vergiels, school district spokesman, said the two-day extension was needed because the district already has had eight days of cancellations, and the extra days will allow the district to meet the 1,098-hour requirement.

Whiteford Agricultural Schools too will have a longer school year.

"We will be going well into the week of June 13," Superintendent Larry Shilling said.

"Right now, we currently have 40 hours and 50 minutes to make up," Mr. Shilling said.

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