WestSide Story

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Con: Snow Days

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Students wish for snow days in the long hours of winter. Here in Idaho, there can be some pretty crazy weather. This leads students to question why they don’t get snow days very often. According to the school districts in Idaho Falls and Pocatello, there are valid reasons for this.

  The first reason is that schools still have to pay for the heating and plumbing to continue running even when the students aren’t there. Also, the district has to pay the staff on snow days. This takes away from the budget. The funding formula for schools is based upon attendance rates, meaning if there are no kids in school, there is also no money coming into the school, causing further budget problems.

  Secondly, there is a certain amount of hours required by the state that each grade has to have instruction. Kindergarten requires 450 hours, grades one through three require 810 hours, fourth through eighth grades need to have 900 hours, and high school requires 990 hours of instruction. This means that the more snow days there are, the less hours each grade gets of instructional time, creating a dilemma. Fortunately, when planning the school calendar, districts take into consideration emergency events such as the horrific weather. Even with this planning, too many days off could result in the lengthening of regular school days and less long weekends and half days.

  There are a couple more reasons for the lack of snow days. The school district attempts to be considerate to parents who have to make last minute child care plans and children who don’t have food at home who go hungry.  

  According to Margaret Wimborne, public coordinator for Idaho Falls district 91, there has not been a district wide snow day in Idaho Falls since February of 2014. Apparently, there is good reason for that. While students would love to have an extra day or two off from school, it is much worse to have longer school days and fewer holiday breaks.

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Con: Snow Days