Snow-day downside: Longer school days

       Beginning Monday, Jan. 29, the District 11 school day will be extended a half-hour - 15 minutes at the beginning and 15 at the end - to make up for the high number of snow days this year.
       Two Westside schools appear to be partially exempted from the decision. These are Bristol and Washington, which had already extended their days by a half-hour in October. The reason then was that both schools needed longer days so they could quit three weeks early next May to let construction crews start sooner on major bond-issue projects.
       The rationale for the decision was not that there have been too many snow days so far. Rather there was a concern that such might happen, explained Judy McIntire of District 11. “We're trying to be proactive,” she said. “We're expecting more lousy weather, and we'd rather do this than add days at the end of year.”
       Because of that, district officials were planning to exempt Washington and Bristol, based on unofficial reports from administrative meetings at the Pioneer's press deadline Jan. 24. However, those schools would shift their starting/ending times back 15 minutes to put them in line with the other schools.
       “When you have a big system, you have lots of little variables, but it will get worked out,” said Washington Principal Terry Martinez.
       State law requires school districts to provide a certain number of instructional hours each school year.
       For the elementaries , the new start/end times are 7:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. At the middle schools, they are 8:30 a.m. and 3:55 p.m.; and at the high schools, they are 7:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
       For up-to-date information, parents are advised to call their children's respective schools before Jan. 29.

Westside Pioneer article