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Mo. lawmaker proposes canceling classes missed because of ice storm

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Students whose classes were canceled because of a January ice storm might not have their summer vacation shortened.

A Springfield lawmaker has filed a bill that would allow school districts in the 34 counties declared a federal disaster area to decide whether they want to make up classes missed from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22.

Many school districts schedule additional days into their calendars to account for snow days, but a weekend of icy weather that has kept the power off in some parts of the state for more than three weeks pushed some districts over that buffer.

Schools that exceed their scheduled snow days must add up to an additional eight days to make up for missed classes. After that, schools only need to make up for half the lost time.

Rep. B.J. Marsh, R-Springfield, told the Springfield News-Leader that with at least another month of winter, some schools already have six days to make up.

But some southwestern Missouri school districts said just skipping the classes cheats students and taxpayers.

Nixa Superintendent Stephen Kleinsmith said schools should try to make up the lost time.

"These are learning opportunities that have been paid for by taxpayers, and they expect to get a return on their investment," Kleinsmith said. "The only way they will get a return is for students to be in school learning what is necessary."

Several school districts in the southwestern corner of the state have already announced plans to cancel some planned vacation days.

Springfield schools have turned Presidents Day into a makeup day, while Republic schools will be in session after their May 15 graduation day.

Snow days is HB678

Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.springfieldnews-leader.com

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