So far, canceled classes won't lead to makeup days

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 | 5:14 p.m. CST; updated 2:41 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

COLUMBIA — Even though classes were canceled twice this week, Columbia Public School students won’t have to worry about making up those extra days at the end of the year.

That’s because the district’s academic calendar has four days built in for weather-related cancellations.

The last day of school is scheduled for June 3, but if those days aren’t used, school will end on May 29, Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services Lynn Barnett told the Missourian earlier this school year. State law mandates that schools hold classes on 174 days each academic year.

If cancellations surpass the allotted days, school days will be added onto the end of the year, said Michelle Baumstark, the district’s school programs and communication coordinator. The administration would also consider having classes on May 2, which is currently a holiday on the school calendar.

The district administration considers a number of factors before cancelling school, Baumstark said. Both the needs of transportation services and safety are taken into account as members of the administration drive the roads early in the morning.

Chief Operations Director Nick Boren is one of the five people who check the roads. Usually, he said, they are out driving by 4 a.m., get back to the administration building by 5 a.m. and make a decision by 5:30 a.m. They drive on primary, secondary and rural routes and are sure to examine some key hazardous areas — which Boren said included roads with sharp turns — around the city. He usually uses his personal vehicle, but sometimes use school vehicles or even busses.

School was canceled Tuesday because there was water on top of some county roads, making them “very slick,” Boren said.

Additionally, uncleared, icy sidewalks seemed difficult for students to walk upon safely, he said.

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