Schools closed again Tuesday, Jan. 28, district to discuss make-up options

Tomorrow schools will be closed due to cold for the fifth day this month.

The Stillwater School District has decided to close all schools Tuesday, Jan. 28, due to extremely cold weather.

The district will have to make up for lost instructional time, but district spokesperson Carissa Keister said there are many ways to do so.

State statute mandates that independents districts provide 425 hours of instruction for kindergarteners, 935 hours for first- through sixth-graders and 1,020 hours for seventh- through 12th-graders. There must also be a minimum of 165 days of instruction for first- through eleventh-graders, unless a four-day-per-week schedule has been approved by the commissioner of education.

According to a recent memo from Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, to superintendents, it’s up to local school boards to determine whether a canceled school day is made up. The memo also notes there is no direct financial penalty if the district fails to provide fewer hours or days than required by law.

The district could choose to add days at the end of the school year, or it could lengthen school days. It could also consider eliminating scheduled days off, but it must consider what those days were supposed to be used for and ensure compliance with teacher contracts.

“There’s a lot of different ways they could do it, and that’s why no decision has been made yet,” Keister said. “Another thing is, it’s still early in the year.”

Keister said the district is doing its best to keep people informed and not to make rushed decisions but called the situation “unprecedented.”

“In recent years we’ve not had a situation like this,” she said.

 The school board will consider options at its Feb. 13 meeting.

The district has been posting updates on its website. Here’s the latest.