Snow days are piling up for western Washington students. One way or another, school districts have to make up the lost time. That requires more class time in the summer.
Washington state law requires students have no fewer than 1,000 hours of public instruction every year, which is typically included in 180 days of scheduled class time. According to state superintendent Chris Reykdal, 180 days makes up for more than 1,000 hours of instruction time.
In other words, one snow day does not necessarily translate to one make-up day.
"Every district is going to have to get creative with the way it comes up with the 1,000 hours of required class time," Reykdal said.
Another factor that's included in the make-up day schedule is teacher strikes. Washington state saw a record number of teacher strikes heading into the start of the school year. Those days must be made up as well.
School districts can apply to the state OSPI for a waiver for those missed days. That would help limit the number of make-up days needed in the summer. But state law only allows a maximum of three waiver days.
Tacoma Public Schools decided to shorten spring break and may schedule Saturday classes. The district not only has seven strike days to compensate for, but at least three days of school has been canceled because of the snow.
Currently, the last day of school in Tacoma is schedule for June 18. But that could be moved again because of the additional snow days.
Reykdal's office is currently looking into whether Governor Inslee's 'emergency declaration' impacts the way districts are required to make up class time.