Students Could Face Longer School Year After Artic Blast

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 17:16:31-05

GREENVILLE, Mich. — It became an extended Christmas break for thousands of students in west Michigan after mother nature unleashed another snow storm and arctic blast earlier in the week.

Grattan Academy Principal Tom Kreiner said that his two charter schools cancelled class again on Thursday after ice formed inside its buses.

“Our buses, the air suspension and air breaks system has some moisture in them, and that moisture has frozen up and we don’t want to put out buses out with a system that’s not fully functional,” said Kreiner.

The two charter schools have used eight weather related days so far this school year, and that’s already two more than the state approves. The Michigan Department of Education tells Fox 17, six weather related days are allowed each school year, and districts can file a petition with the state to approve more without adding days at the end of its school year. The Department of Education said that approval is done on a case by case basis.

Thankfully for Grattan Academy Charter Schools, officials planned an extra five days into the calendar at the beginning of the year.

“It’s something that we do as we look at the trends in the weather, I could see that we were going to require probably more snow days, so we build in an extra five,” said Kreiner.

Northview School District in Grand Rapids said that it has used three snow days, with three more remaining.

“What was really unusual for us is I think the fact that they came together and butted together on both sides of our Christmas break. So, we had the day prior to Christmas break beginning on Friday, and then we had the two days afterwards,” said Northview High School Principal Mark Thomas.

Thomas said that while the students enjoyed their extended break because of the weather, they were still excited to return to the classroom.

“What we find is that our kids like to go on breaks, but they also love to come back to school. I always describe this as the academic mall, and they love to be back with their friends, their teachers. They like routines,” said Thomas.

Thomas also said that if the allotted snow days are used up, and the state doesn’t approve more, the district is more than willing to add more school days in June.