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Let It Snow Or Make It Stop? Wintry Weather Could Drag The School Year Into June

Kansas City Public Schools
Kansas City Public Schools tweeted this image to announce school closings in November 2018.

It feels like it hasn’t stopped snowing since Thanksgiving weekend, and school’s being called off frequently. That may have parents wondering exactly how many days their kids will have to make up.

The answer: It depends.

Kansas City Public Schools are currently scheduled to end May 31 — already a week later than originally planned. If another school day is cancelled, kids will be in classrooms in June.

Missouri law mandates that every cancelled school day must be made up until the seventh called-off day. At that point, every two missed days must be made up with one missed day until the 14th missed day, after which no more make-ups are required. This cap means the KCPS school year would not go later than Wednesday, June 5.

But starting in the 2019-2020 school year, time in Missouri classrooms will be measured in hours, not days. Districts will be able to add time onto school days instead of just the end of the school year. KCPS spokesman Ray Weikal said that’s an improvement.

“The reality is that when you add days at the end of the year we know, historically, attendance tends to go down,” he said. “So if you can add minutes throughout the year, you’re more likely to not lose that time with your kids.”

In Kansas, school districts can choose to make up snow days with hours or days in the classroom. Shawnee Mission School District spokesman David Smith said districts tend to choose minutes, but in some cases it may even be on a building-by-building basis.

“In one of the weather events, certain neighborhoods lost power … school was in session but there were at least four buildings that were not in session because they didn’t have power … they’re behind the rest of the district,” he said.

The Shawnee Mission will have to count the number of hours each building has been in session to determine make-up time across the district, he said.

Sonia Schlesinger is an intern at KCUR 89.3. Reach her at sonia@kcur.org.

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