Texas school districts need waivers for bad weather days

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TEXAS - After this winter's ice storms, Texas school districts have missed more school days than they can make up during the remainder of the school year.

The ice roared in in December, and hit again earlier this week.

"It's been many years since we've missed this many days," said Dr. Henry Scott, Denison ISD Superintendent.

School districts now have to make up for missed days that were cancelled due to hazardous road conditions.

Dr. Scott says they've missed seven school days. By law, their calendar includes two bad weather make up days. They'll have to use both of those, and submit a waiver to the State for the other five days.

"Especially with what's happened with weather in North Texas, I think they'll be very favorable looking upon those waivers," said Dr. Scott.

Pottsboro ISD missed seven days as well, Bonham ISD reports they missed four, and Savoy ISD's Superintendent says they missed five school days.

"We were hopeful that the state would let us burn our snow days of course, because those were going to be holidays, and then after that we'll request that the state grant us the other three," said Savoy ISD Superintendent Brian Neal.

Texas Education Agency Spokesperson Debbie Ratcliffe says many years school districts usually won't have to use their designated make up days or ask for a waiver, "We certainly think every instructional day is important, but we understand sometimes mother nature interferes and it's the safest most cautious route to cancel school on days like that."

Dr. Scott says even if the days are waived, the lost class time is still hard on teachers and students preparing for upcoming state tests, "We are losing a portion of our instructional time, and we need every day we can get to get our kids ready to do well at each grade level."

It's important to the school districts that these missed days are waived. If they report an attendance of zero for those days, they'll lose state funding, and if they have to make them all up, some districts would have to extend their calendars well into June.

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