Lake Tahoe school districts address snow days
January 27, 2017
With over a week of snow days already logged and a long winter ahead, school districts around Lake Tahoe are deciding how to make up for lost time.
Lake Tahoe Unified School District (LTUSD) had a total of seven snow days starting Jan. 9 when the region was pounded with feet of snow. The district is in the process of determining a course of action, according to public information officer Shannon Chandler.
"We already reserve three days every year for snow days," explained Chandler. Depending on how many snow days the school has, this allows for flexibility on the last day of school.
School funding takes into account Average Daily Attendance (ADA), so if missed days are not made up — or a waiver is not granted by the state — the school risks being docked funding.
LTUSD is in the process of applying for a waiver for the missed days due to the extreme weather conditions. This year the last day of school was set for Thursday, June 15, but it could be pushed to Tuesday, June 20, or later.
It's difficult to determine, said Chandler, because there are still many winter days ahead and potential snow days.
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On Jan. 23, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson directed the California Department of Education to work with school districts forced to close due to flooding and winter storms so they aren't docked ADA funding.
"Creating and maintaining a safe environment for students and school staff is a top priority of the California Department of Education. Any schools forced to close as a result of the extreme winter weather we've seen this month may be able to recoup these important ADA funds," Torlakson said in a release.
"I've directed my staff to help affected school administrators through the process of applying for waivers due to school closures. Schools in California should not suffer financially or in any other way for putting the safety of our students first in any kind of emergency."
Across the state line in Nevada, Douglas County School District had five snow days. Similarly, the district also has three contingency days factored into its school calendar and is applying for a waiver from the state for the missed days.
"We are also looking at the option of adding minutes either in the morning or afternoon to make up the time," said Superintendent Terry White.
Currently the last day of school is set for Thursday, June 22, but could be pushed to Tuesday, June 27, or later if the waiver is not granted.
North of Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board of Education voted to add makeup days and further adjust the 2016-17 school year calendar in response to the "unprecedented number of snow days" so far in 2017, the Sierra Sun reported.
According to a letter from TTUSD Superintendent Rob Leri, after the district sent out an online survey last week about several proposed changes, 88 percent of the more than 600 responses were in favor of the district adding three makeup days to address lost instructional time.
"Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time," Leri wrote in the letter. "We all want what's best for our students, and we are working diligently to ensure students continue to have a high-quality education in a safe environment."