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Azle school district weighs how to make up five days of canceled classes

The Azle school district is scrambling to make up a week's worth of classes after unexpectedly shutting down last week, but whether it must make up the all of missed days has yet to be determined.

While most area districts are working to make up bad-weather days, Azle had an additional set of circumstances to deal with, said Ray Ivey, director of administration.

Schools were closed Feb. 8, 9 and 10 because of a broken water main, which health officials said made the water supply unsafe to drink without precautions. Then, the district was closed Thursday and Friday because of the record-breaking snowstorm.

Now officials are applying for a state waiver that would exempt the district from having to make up the missed days.

"We believe that it will be in our favor because of the extraordinary, extraordinary circumstances of that week," Ivey said. "While snow doesn't happen often, it does happen, but nothing like this. But the water situation, well, we had no control of that."

State law requires schools to have 180 instructional days. Generally, districts put two days in their school calendars that are used either as bad-weather makeup days or, if not needed for that, as holidays.

Azle already plans to use one of those days -- April 2 --to make up for cancelling classes Jan. 7 when an ice storm hit the area.

Azle students did not attend classes Monday because it was a planned holiday for Presidents Day.

Elsewhere

The Grapevine-Colleyville district did hold classes Monday to make up for closing school Friday. The day was one of the district's two weather makeup days.

"It was a fast turnaround, but the decision was made to use it as the makeup day because we're still fairly early in the season," district spokeswoman Megan Overman said. "We could have the potential for more inclement weather at the end of the month, so we wanted to make sure we were prepared for another bad-weather day in case we need it."

Friday's snow means most area districts will have classes on April 2, Good Friday.

Nearly a dozen districts had closed schools Jan. 7 because of the ice storm, so many will have to make up two, or even three, days. Aledo, for example, was closed Thursday and Friday as well as in January. Its bad-weather makeup days are April 2 and June 4. Officials will ask the state for a waiver on the third day missed.

Birdville plans to use April 2 to make up for the ice day in January but may not have to make up for missed classes on Friday, spokesman Mark Thomas said. District officials are working with the Texas Education Agency for clarification, he said.

EVA-MARIE AYALA, 817-390-7700

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