Home > It's A Legal Matter > Snow Days

Snow Days

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2014-01-23


So many snow days. Moms and dads can’t take any more. Remarkably, I’ve even heard some kids complaining about missing school. A cancelled school day creates a challenge for many parents to find supervision for their children. Also, too many snow days could lead to a longer school year and a shorter summer vacation.

There might be a simple solution to make sure every school corporation provides the required amount of instructional school days even when poor weather conditions exist.
Indiana law requires each school corporation to provide 180 days of student instruction each year. An instructional day must consist of at least five hours of instructional time for students in grades 1 through 6. Students in grades 7 through 12 must receive a minimum of six hours of instruction each day. If a school corporation fails to provide the minimum required instructional days, it will receive a financial penalty and its accreditation could be impacted.

There are some exceptions. A school corporation can receive a waiver of the penalty if the school corporation’s cancellations were due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

Apparently, snow and ice in the winter can be considered “extraordinary.” If a school applies for and is granted a waiver, it would not lose money for falling short of the 180 instructional day requirement.

Indiana law also provides that the state superintendent “may encourage the development and establishment of innovative or exemplary school calendars.” So, why not creatively redefine an instructional day to include on-line assignments?

There’s no problem with giving kids a pass on the first few snow days. In circumstances like the five consecutive days where many schools were closed earlier this month, kids could complete one, two or more on-line assignments. The assignments could take several hours to complete. Teachers could create the assignments before the beginning of the school year and even pass out copies at school in the fall. Once bad weather hits, students could go on-line or to the hard copy packet and complete the projects. That way, a snow day could still count toward the 180-day requirement.

Technology now makes it possible to provide instructional days on-line. Plus, school corporations could save money when they don’t have to run the buses, kitchens and air conditioning during make-up days in June. Let the kids complete assignments from home instead of requiring them to attend make-up days well into June.

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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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