Okla. lawmaker proposes flexibility to make up snow days - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Okla. lawmaker proposes flexibility to make up snow days

Comanche County_The remnants of this week's ice storm forced several schools - including Lawton Public Schools (LPS) - to remain closed on Thursday.  However, many districts - such as Elgin and Cache - decided it was safe enough for students and teachers to get back to the classroom.  Both of the school superintendents said there were no major problems Thursday morning.  While they say safety always is a main concern, they said they also must think about when students will make up the days they missed - and, ‘snow days' can help.  However, an Oklahoma lawmaker wants to give school districts more options.

Currently, Oklahoma students are required to be in class for 180, six-hour days.  The proposed bill would eliminate the day requirement, and focus solely on the hourly requirement.  The change could come in handy for schools during bad weather.

After two days of cabin fever - one parent even called 7News pleading for us to tell him there would be school on Thursday - for some students and teachers, it was back to normal.  On Thursday morning in Elgin, school was off to a smooth start, and Superintendent Tom Crimmins says the day kept getting better.  "We knew it was going to get above freezing around 10AM this morning, and that gets you into the daylight, and traffic down some," he said.

Some districts say delaying the start of school might help during inclement weather.  "I would like to have that option," said Randy Batt with Cache Public Schools.  "Our busses ran an hour late today to give them more time for the roads, to be a little better prepared, and get some traffic on the roads before they were the first."

However, delaying school start times poses a problem with current state requirements.  It currently calls for 180, six-hour days - after built-in snow days already are used.  That requirement could have kids going to school on Saturday, or adding days to the end of the year.  Districts currently cannot extend their school days to make up for missed time, but the proposed Oklahoma House Bill could change that.

The bill would only require students to attend 1,080 hours of class time - the same as the current requirement - but, the hours could be allocated how the district chooses.  Batt says the flexibility is intriguing.  "It was intriguing to see what you could do - you could make your days longer all year long, and go shorter days," he said.  "So, I like the flexibility of it."

The issue came up last year at the Capitol, but didn't make it very far in the debate.  Local superintendents and lawmakers hope it will have more success this year.  Count on 7News to keep you updated.

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