School district has used up its snow days |

School district has used up its snow days

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily TribuneTahoe Valley Elementary School traffic director Hank Greco stands in front of a pile of snow in the school's parking lot Tuesday afternoon. The huge mound of snow has been roped off as a safety precaution.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District students will not be getting out early this year.

The school year will end June 19 since the district has used its annual allotment of scheduled snow days.

The district builds in an extra three days at the end of the school year to make up for snow days.

School would have ended June 16 if none of the snow days had been used.

Students aren’t surprised with the extended school year.

“It’s one of those things I’d really want not to happen, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Sierra Fulton, a South Tahoe Middle School sixth-grader.

Her sixth-grade friend, Samantha Sutterfield, concurred.

“Everyone knows it’s going to happen,” Sutterfield said.

If the district uses more than the number of built-in snow days, additional days could be added at the end of the school year.

But the district can file an application with the state to make an exception to that rule because of emergency conditions, said district spokeswoman Angie Keil.

This allows school to still end June 19 even if more snow days are taken.

The district is filing such an application for South Tahoe High School because the school closed was closed an extra day because of power outages Jan. 8, Keil said.

Snow days throw off the teaching schedule, said STMS teacher Barbara Cloutier. Students aren’t as focused after a snow day.

Testing schedules remain the same, even with snow days, so teachers cram as much as they can into available days, she said.

LTUSD facilities manager Steve Morales said employees worked all weekend to clear the snow from the schools. He said they could have used Tuesday as well, but they wanted to get the schools open as soon as possible.

For snow-removal equipment, he said, the district has a large commercial sand plow, front loader, large rotary blower and eight one-ton plow trucks.

“We don’t have enough big equipment for these kinds of events,” Morales said, referring to the last storm.

Another problem is snow storage. With the large amount of snow that’s falling in a short amount of time, removing all of it is difficult, Morales said. Most of the time, all they can do is push the snow back and stack it.

“Quite frankly, everyone is running out of places to put snow,” he said.

Debra Yates, district director of business services, said the school district set aside $10,000 for contracts to haul away the snow. Another $25,000 is included for overtime costs for snow removal by district employees.

The budget is based on a mild snowfall trend from the past three winters. The district could spend more than the allocated amount if the snowfall keeps up.

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