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After Another Winter Storm, Schools Seek Help From Texas For Snow Days

Bill Zeeble
DISD parents crowd a school board briefing Thursday on the third snow day this school year.

Most North Texas school kids reveled in their third day off in the last two weeks Thursday -- with spring break coming for many next week. But those days off create headaches for districts trying to reschedule snow and ice days.

Every Texas school district, without fail, has to set aside two bad weather days at the beginning of the year. Debbie Ratcliffe with the Texas Education Agency says it’s typical to mark Good Friday as one of those make ups.

“Which means they get that day off if they haven’t had bad weather, but if they did have bad weather they have to go to school. So I think there’s a good chance we’ll have more kids in school on Good Friday than had originally had been planned,” Ratcliffe says.

Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Allen and other districts have already put Good Friday, April 3, back on the calendar. And after last week, they used up their second day, too. Dallas and Fort Worth and others will tack on an extra day to the end of their year. Others will hold class Friday, May 22, which many take off leading up to Monday’s Memorial Day vacation.

With snow days used up, Dallas ISD’s Jon Dahlander expects many will seek another option.

“We’ve really been hoping not to have to add another day to the calendar,” Dahlander says. “So what we most likely will do is do what we’ve done in similar years and that’s seek a waiver from the Texas Education Agency.”

Still, Dahlander says Superintendent Mike Miles, from cold Colorado, is used to snow and hates canceling any days of instruction. Fort Worth and Richardson, among others, also expect they’ll seek a waiver.

Ratcliffe says they have a good shot.

“You know if they were closed because of snow and there was snow on the ground and all the schools in that area were closed, that’s usually enough to have it granted,” Ratcliffe says.

Many districts won’t decide whether to seek a waiver until after spring break, which arrives with the snow barely melted.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.