At Tuesday’s board meeting the calendar was revised to make up for last week’s lost days. As previously agreed to with the bargaining units, tomorrow will be a student day and the remainder of any lost days will be added to the end of the student year. There are some in the community who question why they can’t be made up during the mid-winter break so we share how the calendar is a condition of employment and the board does not have authority to unilaterally change it.
The other issue that is emerging both from community and staff is how the governor’s declaration of an emergency situation will play out. They are asking since it was an emergency why do we need to make up the days. Let’s just ask the state for a waiver. We know that this will be a possibility because OSPI has shared that districts can apply even though the official process required for emergency situations is not complete. It could take weeks before it is official.
The bigger question for me is the importance to us of the lost instructional days. Recently, a coalition of of our school and community groups was prepared to lobby legislators to not cut the school year from 180 to 175 days to save money, one of the governor’s budget saving options. We believe that it was important to not lose the instructional time given the standards and expectations imposed on our students and staff. Does that change because an emergency was declared? If they were simply snow days we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Does the need for the days change because of the event that requires making up the days? Does being able to waive the days without loss of state revenue and potentially salary influence our choice? These are some of the questions that must be asked and answered before making a decision on a waiver request.
What are your thoughts on this choice that we face?