Weather causes flurry of alterations to school calendars

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South Madison County - Although their calendars will be affected differently, southern Madison County schools will change their 2014 schedules because of inclement weather. School officials from both the South Madison Community School Corp. and Frankton-Lapel Community Schools are altering their calendars after the many school closings caused by snow, ice and extreme cold.

Frankton-Lapel Superintendent Bobby Fields said the district built one “flex day” into its calendar, which will help with snow make-up days, but the remainder of the days will have to be added to the end of the year.

“We have five days to make up,” Fields said. “This year we only have one flex day, Presidents Day, which we’ll use. The rest of the snow days, even new snow days, will be added onto the end of the year.”

That means the school year for Lapel will now extend into June. He added that any additional school closings would be made up in the same manner.

“May 27 was supposed to be our last day,” Fields said. “Now we will go May 28 through June 2. Any other additional days would just be added onto the end.”

As of Monday, Feb. 3, Frankton-Lapel and South Madison schools had been closed for seven days because of weather-related issues.

Both districts also applied for waivers made available by the Indiana Department of Education for two snow days early last month after the worst weather incident of the season so far. That storm dumped about 10 inches of snow across much of the state, effectively shutting down much of the state for two days. The waivers meant the districts did not have to make up those days.

South Madison Superintendent Joe Buck said the DOE has approved two of the district’s waiver requests and that another is pending.

“So, right now, we’ll have at least five days to make up,” Buck said.

He said, similar to Frankton-Lapel, the district has a few flex days built into the school calendar, but that the remainder would have to be subtracted from the first week of an upcoming two-week break that is part of the district’s balanced calendar.

“Jan. 20, was our first make-up day and the next scheduled make-up day is Feb. 17 (Presidents Day),” Buck said. “If we do not receive the third waiver approval, we’ll be making up the other three days March 17-19, which is the first week of the two-week scheduled spring break.”

South-Madison schools switched to a modified balanced calendar, which lengthened breaks and shortened summer vacation, last year.

Two-hour delays do not have to be made up by Indiana schools.

Both schools also said even with more snow days, graduation dates will not be altered.

“A few years ago, we moved our graduation date because of makeup days and it was a debacle,” Fields said. “We got a lot of complaints because people had rooms already rented and were flying in from out of state. So, we will not be moving our graduation dates, no matter how many make-up days we have.”

Graduation from Lapel is scheduled for Saturday, May 31.

He said that any additional days, even if the students had to return to school after the graduation ceremony, would be continually added onto the end of the year. Diplomas would be handed out after the last day of school if students had to return after graduation.

Buck said Pendleton would also not be moving graduation, which is scheduled for June 1. The last day of school is currently planed for May 30.

“We will not move our commencement date,” Buck said. “It would cause a lot of hardships for the families who have already made plans.”

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