School calendars now spilling into June

Authored by Jim Langham on Feb 7, 2014

If there were no more snow days at this point, the last day for students to attend classes at South Adams would be June 2, school superintendent Scott Litwiller said on Thursday.
As of that date, South Adams had missed nine days of school. However, two of those were waived by the Indiana Department of Education on Jan. 6 and 7, due to the extraordinary cold weather those two days.
“That is very rare for them to do that,” said Litwiller. “That shows how extreme this winter has been.”
South Adams had made up one day on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Another day will be made up on Feb. 17 (President’s Day).
“This is all determined by the Department of Education. The local school board has no say in it,” said Litwiller. “Normally, students are required to attend 180 days a year. However, because of the days that were waived, that will be 178 days this year.”
Litwiller said that determination about what to do with school begins early in the morning when he and transportation director Mark Cook each drive county roads.
“We drive county roads to assess how safe they are for busses and students who will drive to school. We talk back and forth and assess what we are seeing. Our decision is made in the interest of the student safety,” Litwiller said.
Litwiller said that consideration is also given to the travel status issued by the Emergency Management director.
“We never have school if we are in a Code Red,” said Litwiller.
Concerning students who attend some classes in another school district such as Adams Central, schedules are managed according to the local school’s determination.
Litwiller said that if Adams Central were to cancel and South Adams has school, students that would have attended AC will be held at South Adams on that day.
“We had that once last fall when they canceled because of fog and we didn’t,” observed Litwiller.
Things at Adams Central are very similar to South Adams. As in the case of the local school system, AC is governed by the State Board of Education, confirmed Adams Central superintendent Lori Richmond.
“Right now we are still on target to have graduation as planned,” said Richmond. “However, if we have a few more snow days, that may need to be changed.
“When the weather is in question, Dave Weber and Charlie Bowers drive the roads for an assessment,” said Richmond. “They do a fantastic job. I have complete confidence in them. If needed, I will go out and drive to get a feel for myself what’s out there.”
Richmond said that county superintendents and transportation directors call each other to report what they are finding in their part of the county.
“The cooperation between our people in the different school districts is just wonderful,” Richmond said.
“If possible, we like to determine what the situation is the night before but that is not always possible. This week we could do that because the storm was moving in full force already in the evening,” said Richmond. “Sometimes we just can’t determine till that morning.
“I hope this weather straightens up pretty soon. I want my kids back; I miss them,” said Richmond.
Snowfall across the area ranged from 8-10 inches between 5 p.m. on Tuesday and noon on Wednesday, according to reports from the National Weather Service. Fort Wayne officially reported 9.6 inches.
With this week’s storm, the official season total at Fort Wayne Airport now stands at 52.2 inches, making this the second snowiest winter in local weather records. The highest amount (61.1 inches) occurred in 1982.
Weather specialist Rick McCoy said that the next possibility for snow is late Saturday into Sunday, but at the present time, weather officials are looking for around two inches from that storm.
“The big thing around here now is going to be the cold,” said McCoy. “We’re going to be pressed to go over 10 degrees for the next couple of days and nighttime lows will probably be sub-zero for several nights.
“There is no indication of a significant warm-up in the near future,” said McCoy. “We are looking of at least a week or two of this bitter cold to continue.”


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