Bitter cold temperatures and snow covered roads kept many school districts in the tri states closed for most of last week.
One of those districts was Galesburg CUSD #205, which canceled four days of classes.
Superintendent Bart Arthur said he assesses conditions with the district’s bus supervisor when deciding whether to call off classes. The amount of snow on the ground is one factor. He also said the district will usual shut down when the wind chill reaches -20 Farenheit.
Arthur said his top priority is student safety.
“Kids that are walking to school have to walk in the snow, or walk on the street. Well, walking on the street isn’t very safe either. And so, whenever I make those decisions, I’m keeping the kids in mind. Because everybody gets pretty upset when we cancel school. But they’ll be a lot more people upset if something serious happens to a child,” Arthur said.
Arthur also has another factor to weigh this year: the district has no emergency days left. The superintendent said the state required Galesburg use its five emergency days to make up for missed days from the teachers’ strike in August.
A meeting with the teachers’ union will be held to discuss how to make up the lost days due to the weather, but Arthur cautioned about extending the school calendar too far into June.
He said early June is when summer school and other educational programs begin.
If the district can’t make up all the lost days, it could apply to the state for an Act of God waiver.
“We can apply for them, and if they approve them, then that’ll be a day that they won’t take any money away from us for not meeting. And the teachers would get paid for that day,” Arthur said.
Arthur said there is no guarantee the state would grant the waiver.
Despite all the days missed through the teachers’ strike and winter weather, the district still plans to graduate this year’s seniors on Memorial Day weekend.