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March 29th School Day

School closures and make-up time due to school cancellations at Chisago Lakes Schools

(02/28/2019) We want to thank the families, students and staff in the Chisago Lakes School District for their support and understanding regarding decisions to start school late or cancel school this year. The timing of winter storms, extreme sub-zero temperatures, and historic February snowfalls have resulted in four school closure days this year and five late starts, an amount beyond what was planned for or what could be expected.

 

What are the state requirements for student contact hours?

Minn. Stat. 120A.41 sets forth guidelines that the district follows for the length of a school year and minimum number of instructional hours for students. Students are provided 850 hours in kindergarten, 935 hours in grades 1-6 and 1,020 hours in grades 7-12. The school year calendar must also provide at least 165 days of instruction for students in grades 1-11.

 

It is understood that any decision to add time to the approved school calendar may represent challenges. The district has reviewed the current calendar in order to propose a makeup day for the 2018-2019 school year. Any final decisions require School Board approval at the March 21st meeting.

How many days have been canceled this school year?

As of Feb. 28, 2019, the district has canceled school four school days.

Solution: Friday, March 29th will be added to the calendar as a student day instead of a staff day.

After reviewing options, the Chisago Lakes School Administration will recommend to the School Board to add a full-student school day on Friday, March 29, 2019.  We believe the School Board will accept and confirm this recommendation. One key consideration with this action is to remedy lost time for secondary students within the same term in which it was lost and to address time required for elementary students.

 

The recommendation to add time also includes the provision that any additional days canceled in the district will require a review of adding additional time to the calendar in June.

 

What if I have other commitments on Friday, March 29th?

Families that have previous commitments for this date should communicate student absences directly with their school.

 

Didn’t Gov. Walz state he wouldn’t penalize districts for not meeting the minimums?

Following the polar vortex cold snap, Governor Walz shared in the media that he did not want to penalize districts for canceling school to protect student safety. Because requirements for districts are included in state statute, it is clear that responsibility for this issue rests with the Legislature. Communication from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provided additional guidance on what happens when a district falls below state minimum requirements for student contact time.  

Any financial impact on the district could involve a reduction in state aid should the district not meet the minimum hours as required in the statute, although, the statute is not specific that a financial penalty would be imposed.

 

If you have questions or concerns related to school cancellations and make-up time, please feel free to contact Superintendent Dean Jennissen at 651-213-2096 or djennissen@isd2144.org