Tulsa County Schools Struggle To Make Up Snow Days

Sunday, February 6th 2011, 5:49 pm
By: News On 6

Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The snow days are piling up for Oklahoma schools. Many districts, including Tulsa Public Schools, have already canceled classes for Monday.

List Of School Closures

So what's the plan to make up those school days by the end of the year?

Several districts have already used up their allotted snow days, and there's more bad weather coming this week.

News On 6 spoke to a large and small school district about their options.

Dr. Keith Ballard is getting a blizzard of emails. The Superintendent for Tulsa Public Schools says the district built three snow days into the calendar and has already taken seven.

"This is a one-time event. We've never had anything like this and it creates so many problems," Ballard said.

School districts have several options to make up snow days, like have class on holidays, tack days on at the end of the school year or simply extend each remaining school day.

Dr. Ballard's likeliest scenario for TPS is canceling holidays and extending the school year.

"Take a look at recommending President's Day, which gives us a day, and then we'll probably recommend leaving Spring Break alone," he said. "Then we probably will recommend tacking them on at the end of the year, with some consideration late in the year for adding minutes."

Dr. Ballard says road conditions aren't the only factor when deciding whether to cancel class. TPS has had to deal with some weather-related damage as well.

The same is true at Justus-Tiawah Public Schools. The superintendent there was almost set for Monday classes when broken water pipes forced him to take more snow days.

"With the damage we have at the South campus, we're going to be taking a few more the next few days, so we actually can add three on at the end and still get out before Memorial Day," said David Garroutte, Justus-Tiawah Superintendent.

Garroutte says in order to be out by then, they'll probably hold classes on President's Day and Good Friday.

But, that might not have to happen because his district already spends more time in the classroom than the state requires.

"If we got to where we missed too many days, we could look at that very closely and see how many more hours we're over and go from there," Garroutte said.

Both superintendents hope to make a decision in the next two weeks on making up snow days. Then each district's school board has the final approval.

The state board of education has the power to tell districts they don't have to make up any snow days. However, Dr. Ballard says there's been no talk of that this year and it hasn't happened in almost two decades.