Some lake-area schools hope that help from the state legislature will ease the task of making up days in the classroom missed for heavy snowfall in late-January/early-February.


A bill in the Missouri House of Representatives would forgive schools the burden of making up school days missed between Jan. 29-Feb. 4, when Governor Nixon declared a state of emergency for all of Missouri. House Bill 471 is sponsored by Rep. Joe Aull (D-Marshall).


Some lake-area schools hope that help from the state legislature will ease the task of making up days in the classroom missed for heavy snowfall in late-January/early-February.

A bill in the Missouri House of Representatives would forgive schools the burden of making up school days missed between Jan. 29-Feb. 4, when Governor Nixon declared a state of emergency for all of Missouri. House Bill 471 is sponsored by Rep. Joe Aull (D-Marshall).

Most school districts schedule seven makeup days in order to meet their state law requirements for days in session. The Camdenton and Macks Creek school districts have missed 11 days of class this winter.

“It’s like starting school all over again,” Macks Creek Superintendent Donna Moffatt said. Moffat said some high school classes are one-semester courses, so the extended closure made a significant impact for teachers and students in those courses.

Aull’s bill has the support of the Macks Creek and Camdenton superintendents.

“We’re all for it, naturally,” Moffatt said. “That would be a great deal if they forgive those days.”

“With the number of days that we had missed, the way our current legislation is written — it states that after six days, you make up one day for every two missed in your calendar — if the legislature forgives those days,” Camdenton Superintendent Tim Hadfield explained.

If the bill is approved and signed into law, Camdenton would dismiss school on May 31. If the legislature does not forgive the missed days, students will be in class until June 2.

While the schools want their students to learn, they are also conscious of the cost of keeping schools open later in a school year. Under pressure to keep operating costs low, the educators see the bill as a way to save money.

“It’s two days you aren’t running your buses. Basically, what it saves is two days of food service and two days of transportation, which is about $5,000,” Moffatt said.

HB 471 has been referred to the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, of which State Rep. Rodney Schad (R-Versailles), is a member. If the bill passes committee, it will need approval by a vote of the House, approval by vote of the Senate, and approval by the governor before snow day forgiveness becomes a reality for school districts.

Other snow day impact
The long school closure affected preparation for MAP testing across the state. The MAP test is used to show how students compare to students in other districts across the state and is a factor in how the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education evaluates school systems each year.

“When you miss 11 days of school prior to the test being given, that’s an enormous amount of time and a huge loss of time available to prepare for those tests,” Hadfield said.

Moffatt said the Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris NiCastro has entertained the idea of changing test dates. Many districts have indicated to the DESE that they would like extra days to prepare for the tests.

While the day most students get out of school for the summer is still subject to change, most area school districts will hold graduation ceremonies as originally scheduled. In Macks Creek, graduation is May 15. In Camdenton, graduates will cross the stage on May 21.

Contact Rance Burger at rance.burger@lakesunonline.com.