Snow days pile up for Northwest, other area school districts

03/03/2014 4:16 PM

03/04/2014 9:23 AM

This winter’s series of icy storms created so many kid-pleasing snow days many area school districts are seeking waivers from the state rather than making up the days later.

About area eight school districts, including Northwest, Carroll and Keller, have used more than the two snow days built into school calendars.

Many North Texas school districts had not made up their snow days so far when the latest storm poured sleet onto roadways and sidewalks Sunday.

“Our main concerns were extreme temperatures in the early morning arrival times for our students and icy bridges and roadways,” said Emily Conklin, spokeswoman for Northwest schools.

When Texas school districts use more than two bad weather days during the school year, they can either apply with the state for a missed instructional day waiver or make up the day on their own, said DeEtta Culbertson, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

“Whatever works for their local community,” Culbertson said. “Most districts will apply for waivers.”

Culbertson said the state encouraged districts to wait until after February to file waivers, when winter storms were expected to slow down.

“We were hoping to be over bad conditions,” she said.

Districts have until the end of the school year to file, Culbertson said. The agency’s staff, under the direction of the education commissioner, reviews the waivers.

Some applications have come in, Culbertson said. For example, the Palo Pinto district’s waiver has already been approved, she said.

In the Northwest school district, students have missed five days because of icy weather. Students were out on Dec. 6, 9 and 10, Feb. 11 and Monday.

Several other area school districts also called snow days on Monday. Fort Worth schools opened late for the second time this school year. Fort Worth schools released students early from class on Feb. 6 due to the bad weather.

“Both those decisions were made after driving many of the streets our buses would traverse and an evaluation of the weather forecast,” said Clint Bond, the Fort Worth district spokesman. “With no continuing precipitation, the decision was made to continue with the school day, but on a delayed start.”

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