New state legislation went into effect this summer that uses hours instead of days to figure the length of a district's school year and the requirement to make up inclement weather days. Based on the number of hours in our current student calendar, Fort Osage will make up the first two days of school missed for inclement weather. The first two days missed will be added to the end of the student calendar just as they have in previous years. Employees who have traditionally not reported to work on inclement weather days will make up the day on the date added to the end of the calendar. Staff who have previously worked on snow days will be expected to report to work on these missed days, as well as the make-up dates.
I will be recommending to the board at the November meeting that upon the third day missed for inclement weather this year (and every day missed thereafter) the day will not be made up by students or staff (with a few exceptions addressed below). Beginning with the third missed day, office and administrative staff who usually work on inclement weather days will not report to work, just as is the case for staff who traditionally don’t work on snow days. The only staff who will report to work on these inclement weather days are those whose job class is determined to be ‘essential’ for the operation of the District, including custodial, maintenance, and Fort Discovery staff. Essential staff will work on these inclement weather days but will be provided a ‘trade’ day when they can take off with their supervisor’s permission on a date prior to July 1, 2020.
This change is being made with the full understanding that every student attendance day is important, but days made up after Memorial Day are of diminished value because of increased absenteeism and and the challenge of sustaining academic rigor at that point in the year. In other words, a day missed in January is not equivalent to a day made up at the very end of May or early June. An additional challenge of extending the regular year beyond Memorial Day is that it makes it more difficult to operate a full summer school schedule and finish by the end of June, which is important to our families and staff.
The District is able to make this change because the updated state law bases both the attendance requirement and state funding on an expected total number of hours in the school calendar, rather than school days. Elementary attendance times were adjusted this year to ensure that all schools would have the same number of attendance minutes each day. Based on the total number of hours in the regular school calendar, Fort Osage is able to miss school for inclement weather without being required to make up every hour, and without losing state funding. As a result, the District is able to pay employees for inclement weather days not worked since overall revenue will remain the same.
If you have any questions about this change or how it impacts you, please contact your supervisor.