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Schools counting snow days carefully

Schools counting snow days carefully

Labor Day came early this school year, and that made Old Man Winter a lot easier to manage.
Schools counting snow days carefully
Marcella McKiernan, 5, left, and Townes McKeirnan, 11, of Schenectady make snow angels at SCCC after attending the Gazette Parade Awards Ceremony Wednesday, December 10, 2014.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Labor Day came early this school year, and that made Old Man Winter a lot easier to manage.

Many school districts have not yet run out of potential snow days because their school year is longer than normal. With Labor Day falling on Sept. 1, they were able to start school earlier than normal if they chose — and still fit in all the staff days and parent-teacher conference days that they wanted.

At the Scotia-Glenville Central School District, there’s still plenty of room for days spent sledding.

“Because this year’s calendar is longer than most years, SG would actually have three more days available for use as snow days,” said schools spokesman Robert Hanlon.

Other districts are also enjoying extra flexibility. The Schalmont Central School District has used four snow days but still has room for one more.

The Schenectady City School District has three days remaining to cancel because of snowfall, even though students have gotten three snow days already.

But Schenectady has that flexibility every year, Superintendent of Schools Laurence Spring said. He always fits in 186 days — including half days and time for professional development. Labor Day’s early placement made the task simpler this year.

“Some years it’s harder than others to get 186 in. It’s easier this year,” he said.

The state withholds some aid to school districts whose students are in school for fewer than 180 days a year. So Spring has six days that could be converted into snow days.

“I would, under normal circumstances, say there’s no way that would happen,” he said. “But we just had three weeks in a row of pretty tough Mondays.”

And snow season runs many more weeks, he added.

The good news for most students is that they probably won’t lose spring vacation days to the snow. But some school districts planned a tighter school calendar, and have already run out of snow days.

The Niskayuna Central School District had room for just two snow days — and has used both already.

If another day is needed, students will lose a day from their April vacation week, spokesman Matt Leon said.

Another popular option is to have students attend school on the Friday before Memorial Day. That’s what Scotia-Glenville would do if it has to go through four more snow days, Hanlon said.

Either decision could force teachers and parents to change flights or cancel long-planned trips.

Still, the snow days have created their own set of memories.

“On one of the days, my wife went to work and I took a personal day and went sledding with my kids,” Spring said. “It was pretty great.”

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