BRANSON, Mo. - The winter weather in the Ozarks forced some school districts to call off nearly a months worth of class. Now, those schools are deciding how to make up for missed time, while still balancing the state’s upcoming MAP assessment tests.
"This year it’s been about every month," Kirbyville Superintendent Carless Osbourse says, comparing it to the one time blast of winter weather the Ozarks got during the ice storm of 2007.
"Probably one of the hardest decisions I have to make is calling off school.. A wise Superintendent once told me there's too many good days to have school, to risk it on a bad one, " Osbourn says.
Obsourn still considers his district lucky even though it has missed 16 days worth of class. The Bradleyville School District missed 18 days, Plato’s 22, and Ava’s 25 days.
Most school districts in Missouri are required to provide just over a thousand hours and 174 days of class each year, with a minimum of three hours of class time to count as a day.
Osbourn says each should factors in six snow days a year. Once a district goes over that amount it then has to make up half of the remaining missed days. The state caps that number at 10, allowing schools that missed 14 or more days to be forgiven for the remaining time.
"The biggest thing is getting the kids to remember the information, because it seems like when we come back (after a snow day) its just review all over again," says Kirbyville Middle School science teacher Stephanie Day.
"(Its difficult) having to choose what’s important and what’s not important," says Day, referring to the curriculum she selects while trying to prepare he students for the state’s assessment tests.
Teachers like Day are also feeling the brunt of the winter storms in the Ozarks. In addition to figuring out how to make up a required number of contract hours, snow days can also eat into their break before summer school.
"It's not necessarily a good thing to push summer school say further back because then you're butting it up to the next school year," said Superintendent Osbourn.
Osbourn says a shorter break time is just one of the things school districts have to factor in when calling off school, among them is when to make up the snow days.
He says if Missouri schools choose to make up days on holidays or Spring break attendance is often lower because of planned vacations. He says fewer students in their seats means a lower average attendance, and that can result in fewer funds from the state.