Schools running out of snow days

11:40 PM, Jan 27, 2014   |    comments
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MONTAGUE, Mich. (WZZM) -- A tall snow drift at Montague High School is gone, but it's living on in a photo shared by Ginger Zee Monday on Good Morning America.

The impressive drift wasn't the reason school was canceled. Roads in the district were drifted over Monday and the high school was drifted over too with a 20 foot tall snow drift blocking an emergency exit. Staff used big equipment to move the snow from the north side of the school.

Monday was snow day number six in Montague.

"When we build the school calendar we shoot for the 1098 required hours and we pad it a small amount for just such an emergency when you are a rural district like this," explained superintendent John Weaver.

The pad in the school calendar is down to two days and a couple of hours. Weaver may have to add time back to the calendar to reach the 1098 hours before school ends in June. "We have a little reserve, but we are half way through winter and I am not so sure that will be enough."

The State Department of Education measures attendance in days and hours. A school year must include 170 days and almost 1,100 hours of instruction. Schools are allowed to cancel the equivalent of six days and still be eligible for state aid payments. School administrators can ask for a waiver and up to six additional days from the state superintendent.

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