Brutal winter at Lake Tahoe unlikely to push school year later into summer |

Brutal winter at Lake Tahoe unlikely to push school year later into summer

The winter weather that pummeled northern California and Nevada for most of winter may not have as great an effect on the 2016-17 school year for local districts after all.

Despite heavy snowfall and hazardous driving conditions causing multiple closures at schools off Lake Tahoe’s South Shore this winter, classes may not extend much further into the summer than originally planned.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District is optimistically awaiting a response from the California Department of Education regarding a request that school closures early in the winter be waived. School funding takes into account Average Daily Attendance, so the waiver is needed in order to ensure that the district does not lose funds for canceled days.

The district requested its seven snow days be waived, and the education department confirmed receiving the request on Feb. 10, Shannon Chandler, public information officer for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, told the Tribune Tuesday. Typically, it takes six to eight weeks to hear back on a waiver request, but it’s unclear if the severe winter may have led to a spike in requests and slowed the processing, Chandler added.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Education did not return a voicemail left Tuesday morning.

The Tahoe school district hopes to learn any day now if the request was granted.

Assuming the state grants all seven days, school will still have to be extended one day due to a snow day on March 6. That means school will run until June 16 instead of June 15 as previously planned. Any additional snow days between now and the end of the school year will push that date back further.

Graduation and finals are still set for the originally planned dates, Chandler added.

Meanwhile, Douglas County School District announced on March 22 that there would be no additional days for its students, despite five snow days for the several schools up at the lake.

The district has three contingency days built into its annual calendar to allow for weather cancellations. Additionally, the district plans its school days with extra instructional minutes built in. Douglas’ middle and high school schedules exceed 330 minutes per day and its elementary schools exceed 300 minutes per day, surpassing the state’s requirements.

The last day of school for Zephyr Cove Elementary and George Whittell High School is June 22.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the last day of school for Whittell High School. The story has been corrected with the right date.

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