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March 7, 2014

Extending school hours could make up for snow days

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle Area School District is considering extending this year’s remaining school days by 20 minutes.

That is a possibility being considered to make up required instructional time lost by snow days the district had to take this year.

Superintendent John J. Sarandrea pitched the idea to the board at its public work session Monday, saying that extending the instruction time of the remaining school days for all students would equal three makeup days.

That also would allow the district to still have off the Monday after Easter — April 21 — because a lot of people have vacations planned for that long weekend, he said.

The change in the hours of the school day would have to be approved by the teachers union, which so far has indicated it would not be a problem, Sarandrea said.

The change also would have to be approved in busing and the school board also must give its consent. Then ultimately, the change must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, he said.

That solution would prevent the district from having to add days on to the calendar in June “and we don’t want to move graduation.”

The current snow day situation does not affect graduation, because the district can require seniors to attend graduation practices on Saturdays and those would count as instruction days, Sarandrea said.

Should the district decide to extend the rest of the school days, he will send a notice out to parents, informing of them of the details, he said.

The board is expected to vote on the change at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The district had six snow days off so far this year.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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