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February 4, 2011

Tanoos: School year will be extended

Missed days may be made up in June

TERRE HAUTE — As of today, the Vigo County School Corp. has canceled five days of school this year because of bad weather conditions.

It has three days built into the school calendar as makeup days, May 9, May 20 and May 27.

That means missed days Thursday and today will probably be made up at the end of the school year in June, said Superintendent Dan Tanoos, although no final decision has yet been made.

The school year ends Thursday, June 2. That means potential makeup days Friday, June 3, and Monday, June 6, the day after North Vigo, South Vigo and West Vigo stage their graduation ceremonies.

By law, school must be in session 180 days, and the state is not allowing waivers this year, Tanoos said. “We don’t have a choice. The state won’t give waivers and we have to make up every day.”

President’s Day on Feb. 21 is not an option because it is a paid holiday, and teachers would have to be paid extra to work that day. “It would cost a lot of extra money,” he said.

Also, many people already have plans for spring break. The best option is to add days on at the end of the regular academic year, he said.

Tanoos is concerned that it’s still early February, which means at least another month of potentially bad weather and missed days of school.

The school district canceled classes today because of problems related to earlier power outages at a few schools as well as icy conditions on parking lots and sidewalks.

While Duke Energy restored power to all schools Thursday, the outages have created problems within some of the schools. When power goes off and kicks back on suddenly, it can cause surges that affect heating equipment, Tanoos said.

Also, some pipes have burst, and heavy ice on roofs has caused some ceilings to leak.

In at least one school, power was out for so long that some of the perishable food supplies in the cafeteria will have to be thrown out.

Tanoos also was concerned about safety of students and staff walking on ice in parking lots and sidewalks.

In some cases, parking lots “are sheets of ice,” he said. The district is working to clear them, but there are 31 buildings to be dealt with. It also has hired an outside company to assist.

Custodian and maintenance staff will work through the weekend, and that cleanup will be expensive, Tanoos said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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