Snow days extend school year to June 4


Students and staff at Maple Lake schools were in school Monday, despite initially having the day off in observance of Presidents’ Day. They will also be in school on April 21 and June 4, as the school board on Monday, Feb. 10, voted to extend the school year to make up missed days.
The decision did not come easily as the new schedule passed on a 4-3 vote with Chair Arnie Michalicek and directors Rick Thomas and Ben Elsenpeter dissenting.
Superintendent Mark Redemske began the discussion by explaining that Minnesota schools must put in a minimum of 165 school days and follow hour requirements. One of those requirements mandates that half-day kindergarteners log at least 425 hours of instruction time or 170 days at 2.5 hours each, compared to the 168 days they were scheduled to attend after missing five days.
When Thomas asked if the other students in the district were reaching their required hours, Redemske said, “The other kids are fine.”
Elsenpeter asked about snow days built into the school year.
“We never have,” Michalicek said. “That’s why, at the beginning of negotiations, we changed past practice because historically we didn’t make up the first two days we missed.”
Adding to the complexity of the situation, Redemske shared a recent communication from the Minnesota Department of Education.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.