Students may pay for snow

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Snow days now may cost Lawrence County students their sunshine later.

Children across the county may be enjoying the days off, but many may change their tunes as they have to make them up over spring break.

The individual school districts are currently looking at the options available.

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Harold Shafer, superintendent of the Lawrence County Board of Education, said that they can only hope that the worst is behind them.

"The state allows five calamity days. After those, we have to make them up," he said. "We put in spring break for this reason."

Shafer said the schools have until June 30 to get in a full year, and that if spring break is not enough they will have no choice but to extend into the summer.

"We have been having pretty mild winters," he said. "Last year at this time it was 60 or 70 degrees. It has been a while since we have had a winter this harsh."

Overall, he said that safety is the first priority and that they will not take any chances.

Ironton Superintendent Stephen Kingery echoed these sentiments.

"The decision we make on whether or not to have school because of inclement weather is always based on the safety of the children," he said.

"The plan is to pray we do not have any more snow," he joked. "(Monday) was our fifth day which is all that is allowed by the state. Obviously, we hope we do not have any more hazardous weather to contend with."

Kingery said the school system will try to go on a 2-hour delay instead of canceling. If not, the students will have to sacrifice part of their spring break, which is April 21-25.

Because graduation is already scheduled and many family members have already made plans to attend, the district would rather give up spring break than extend into the summer, he said.

Several of the county schools are already over the five-day limit.

South Point schools have missed seven days-- six snow and one because of water problems. The schools will make the two days up on Feb. 14 and 17, days they were going to have off for Presidents' Weekend, Superintendent Ken Cook said.

Dawson-Bryant, Rock Hill and Symmes Valley have already missed six days.

"From time to time we run into this," Dawson-Bryant Superintendent James Payne said. "This is a pretty sophisticated process we have in place. We do not just look out the window and say, 'Wow, it looks pretty bad.' We will not put kids or our staff in jeopardy."

Payne said that they are unsure exactly which days of spring break will be used and they will look at it with the staff and school board later because "we still have a lot of winter left."