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School Days Added and Extended for Duluth Students

Updated: 03/18/2014 10:14 PM
Created: 03/18/2014 9:43 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Students in Duluth Public Schools have missed seven days in the classroom because of severe winter weather this year. On Tuesday the school board unanimously approved a plan to make up that time so the district would not lose state funding.

The plan gets students back into school on May 16 instead of using it as a staff development day. The school year also gets a day longer with the last day of classes becoming June 6.

But the district had to make up more time, so the plan called for adding 12 minutes to every school day starting next week. That increases instructional time by another 1.6 days, and it brings the total time recouped to 3.6 days.

Board member Art Johnston said he received many dismissive comments about the minutes tacked onto the school day.

“I have to say that a lot of people commented to me, I think as everybody, the 12 minutes does seem a little silly,” Johnston said. “I kind of agree with that. I don't know how else to do it so I don't have any magic wand to make it any better.”

But member Mike Miernicki said it makes sense to him as a former teacher.

“I was a teacher. Boy, you give me an extra three minutes or four minutes in this class and that class and I'm happy,” Miernicki said.

For others it came down to money. Member Harry Welty explained his choice.

“Where I would split a difference is it turns out that if we don't extend the 12 additional minutes we will lose some additional funding and funding is pretty precious,” Welty said.

The plan addresses the snow days called so far this school year, but winter has lingered in the Northland so the issue could come up again.

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