Decatur ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend said he “expects to hear about it” from parents who might have already scheduled activities for Memorial Day weekend.
“We’ve done it a couple of years and gotten by with it,” Townsend said. “We pushed our luck, and now it got us.”
The situation has been remedied for next year. The 2014-2015 school calendar approved at Monday’s school board meeting lists Memorial Day 2015 as a student and staff holiday. Next year’s bad weather makeup days have been assigned to April 2 and May 11.
Townsend said schools are pretty well locked into using the bad weather days as scheduled. A staff development day could be changed to a full instructional day, but those staff development days would have to be added somewhere else on the calendar.
While most schools expect the TEA to grant the waiver requests, if those requests were denied, schools would be looking at options such as holding school on Saturday or turning scheduled holidays into instructional days.
Even if the TEA grants the waiver, schools have lost a full week of instructional time. With the amount of state standards, known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are required to be taught, that leaves a lot of ground to be made up.
“You have to adjust your schedule and prioritize those TEKS,” Townsend said. “You will have to speed up that process.”
He added that Decatur’s middle school has a built-in period typically used for tutorials or extracurricular activities that will be utilized to make up for some of those missed instructional days.
While students might enjoy getting unplanned days off due to weather, educators don’t share the same enthusiasm.
“We would much rather go to school,” Townsend said.