Some students may be looking at late spring before classes end - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Some students may be looking at late spring before classes end


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma school students who spent last week outside throwing snowballs may have to stay in the classrooms through late spring to make up for the lost instruction time.

As much as 20 inches of snow fell on some areas of northern Oklahoma, and many districts canceled classes because roads were too icy and snow-packed for bus drivers.

In Tulsa, schools were closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In Enid, school was out Monday and Tuesday, while school was out for two days in Miami.

Tulsa school officials didn't start the school year until after Labor Day to save on utility costs.

Coupled with canceled classes on Feb. 12 for the education rally at the state Capitol, students could be attending classes until June 11 or later if more snow falls, district spokesman John Hammill said.

Tulsa is not among the school districts with snow days built into their calendar. The state's largest school district discontinued snow days two years ago at the behest of Superintendent David Sawyer, who thought the idea of planned snow days was ``too uncertain,'' Hammill said.

``The superintendent is going to talk to the board about this Monday night (tonight) but there really aren't many options,'' he said.

Sawyer said he will recommend that one of the days be made up on March 14, a day that had been designated as a parent conference day.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education will have to approve the recommendation, too.

Sawyer said Friday that he learned the state board would not even consider another of his ideas: extending the school day by about one hour for the remainder of the year.

``That really only leaves us the end of the year, spring break and Saturdays,'' Sawyer said.

The end of the current academic year already has been pushed back several times.

In recent months, state board members have been reluctant to grant any requests to lengthen the school day in exchange for fewer days of instruction. A committee was picked to study the issue.

Enid doesn't schedule snow days either, and hopes to make up three days at the end of the school year, stretching the last day to May 21, Superintendent Garland ``Kem'' Keithly said.

Miami Superintendent Bill Stephens said the lost days likely will stretch the school year out until May 30 for students and June 2 for teachers, he said.

Stephens doesn't anticipate asking the state board to shorten the calendar or lengthen the school day because students need at least the 175 days of instruction required under law, he said.

After severe ice storms in recent years, state board members forced schools to make up for time when classes started just an hour late or let out an hour early because of snow and icy roads.

State Education Department rules require a six-hour day, but state board members can waive the requirement if students don't miss more than an hour.

Districts that violate the six-hour day without a waiver can lose state funding.
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