Extended class hours to help make up for snow days
by Daniel Gaddy
May 14, 2011 | 4018 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Though the Walker County School System will not have to make up days missed because of the April 27 tornadoes, its students will have an extended class schedule for a week to make up snow days from earlier this year.

The Board of Education approved the extra time during a called meeting Friday morning. Because of the measure, students will report for class at 7:30 a.m. and leave school at 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, from May 16 to May 24.

Superintendent Jason Adkins said district officials are not happy about making the decision and representatives with the Alabama Education Association are talking with State Superintendent Joe Morton to have the snow days forgiven. However, Adkins said, “I haven’t heard anything back so I think we will have to make them up.”

Morton announced Thursday that 51 of Alabama’s 132 school systems will be excused from making up days missed because of severe weather on April 27. The list included both the Walker County and Jasper City school districts.

Normally, Alabama schools must be in session for 180 days of the year. However, state legislators enacted a law last week that forgives missed days when the governor declares a state of emergency. Teachers working in the affected areas also receive full pay because of the new legislation.

When school days are missed in Alabama due to weather, districts usually make them up at the end of the year. But the state law passed last week also allows school systems to extend schedules to make up the time.

Education officials in Marshall County also tried to get their missed snow days forgiven along with classes skipped because of the April 27 tornadoes. However, Morton said he did not have the authority to grant that request because it did not meet the criteria of the new law, according to reports from the Associated Press.

Jasper City Schools Superintendent Robert Sparkman said his district will make up the two days missed because of icy weather by having a full day of class on May 26 and a half day on May 27.