Frustrations mount over weather-related school cancellations

Cedar Rapdis students will now attend class through June 11

Published: February 6 2014 | 7:17 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:15 am in
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Wednesday marked Cedar Rapids Community School District's fifth cancellation due to the weather. For weeks now, the district has been plagued by low temps and high snowfall.

Kennedy High School student Hannah Wilson spent the day in her living room, playing video games. She said the free time has flown by, but admitted she’s ready to get back to class.

“It gets frustrating because when you go back to school it’s like, ‘Okay, what were we doing before school got canceled?’” Wilson said.

To reach an obligated 180 school days, students like Hannah now have to attend class until June 11. Her mother, Nicole Wilson, said it almost feels like her daughter goes year round.

“They take so many days during the year, and it takes so many days off their summer vacation, it’s almost like they’re not getting a break anyway,” Nicole said.

Frustration isn’t limited to parents and kids. Cedar Rapids' extended classes now cut into more than half of the first week at YMCA Camp Wapsie. Organizers there said those scheduled that week may have to reschedule.

“If anybody signs up that can’t make it, they can always contact us about switching weeks. That’s something that as long as we have availability, we’re happy to do,” said Paul Denowski, the camp’s director.

The Cedar Rapids School District’s administrators worry more cancellations may be in the future.

“We’re just to the first of February and we have February and March to go through,” said Dr. Dave Benson, the district’s superintendent.

Dr. Benson said there’s no limit on how deep into the summer schools can go to make up lost time, but there may be other options. Dr. Benson said in the past, Iowa has allowed school districts to lengthen their days to get in more time without chipping away at the calendar.

“That’s not in the works yet, but I have asked (the state) to consider such relief,” said Dr. Benson.

Other options include cutting days from spring break or having students attend Saturday school.

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