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Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Temperatures are slowly rising with the arrival of spring, but schools still are trying to make up time lost due to the worst of winter.

And the most likely candidate to provide those extra days "" spring break.

"We usually build a calendar to try to take into account that we could have a bad winter. It was a little worse than we expected," said Michael Strutt, the superintendent for Butler Area School District.

Butler had seven cancellations because of bad weather this season, but built only four make-up days into the district calendar.

Valentine's Day, which had been an in-service day for teachers only, was converted into a school day. Snow make-up days on April 17, 21 and 22 will eat up much of spring break and the school year will be extended by two days. The change bumps Butler Area High School graduation to June 10, Strutt said, which is now the last day of school.

Students in the Freeport Area School District lose spring break and will attend school April 16-17, and then April 21-23, according to Todd O'Shell, the school and student events coordinator and athletic director. But the school year will not be extended, he said.

Students at South Butler Area School District also won't see a longer school year. The district cancelled school five times and had five make-up days planned.

Administrators at Seneca Valley said they are trying to salvage spring break to accommodate family travel plans. Students will have a long weekend from April 18-21, scheduled at Easter.

School was canceled six times due to the weather, but only four make-up days were planned. The district is using them and moved the last day of school from June 5 to June 6, but it hasn't yet decided the date of the sixth and final make-up day, according to Director of Communications Linda Andreassi.

"I think (Superintendent Tracy Vitale) wants to feel comfortable that we are out of the winter weather window of time. Once that happens, I think she'll be able to make a more firm decision on the sixth day," Andreassi said.

Regardless of the pending decision, it will not affect seniors' last day and graduation on May 30, Andreassi said.

Mars Area School District will not change the date of its June 5 graduation, according to Josh Schwoebel, district spokesman.

Had winter been snow-free, Mars students would have ended the school year May 29, he said. The district doesn't build snow-days into its calender, but instead adds make-up days at the end of the year.

Consequently, Mars' last day will be June 6.

A state senator from Centre County also is trying to give districts more flexibility by proposing legislation that would allow them to lengthen school days and calculate the year on an hourly instead of a daily basis.

The state Senate approved the measure unanimously last week, sending it to the House.

Akasha Chamberlain is a freelance writer for the Tribune-Review. The Associated Press contributed.


March 24, 2014


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