Stevens Point Special School Board Meeting confronts canceled school days
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT — The Stevens Point Area Public School District held a special board meeting on Feb. 13 due to the abundance of school closures throughout the last several weeks.
Revisions to the 2018-2019 school year calendar were made to accommodate missed days, along with a policy suspension to give faculty more flexibility during unpredictable winter months. These changes will help area schools meet the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) instructional time standards.
Six days of class were missed due to weather since the start of winter in 2018, far above the two-day average. Board members unanimously passed calendar revisions to amend Feb. 22 and April 22, formerly Professional Development days at district schools, to be active days of instructional class for Stevens Point Area Public School District schools.
The added student contact days will allow the district to, weather permitting, still finish the school year on June 6. Revisions like this are uncommon.
“This has been a very unusual school year,” said Stevens Point Area Superintendent Craig Gerlach. “I have never addressed this issue at this particular point in time, actually, until yesterday, I thought, let’s just wait to get through the winter to make a plan.”
The brutal winter storm that canceled schools on Feb. 12 changed the school official’s mind. Board members note that there are still several weeks left of winter, and more cancellations may mean school days seeping into summer to accommodate required DPI standards.
Suspension of Handbook Policy 4.05:
Stevens Point Area Public School District board members unanimously passed a motion to suspend Handbook Policy 4.05. The policy directs that after the third and subsequent school closing in an academic year, “teachers and school year staff should not report to work as makeup days with students will be scheduled at another time.”
Staff and faculty now have the flexibility to create their own plan to allow for a more specialized school calendar apart from preconstructed DPI schedulings, offering students and staff a ‘chance to stay on track with assigned DPI required days. Board members discussed the notion of permanent modifications to the policy at a later date to aid in future years with heavy snowfall and inclement conditions.