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Weather Make Up Days and Future School Calendars

Posted by L Michelle on January 27, 2020

Our snow and ice event last week has resurfaced requests from the community to build weather make up days into our school calendars. In an effort to enable students, families, and staff to plan, we make every effort to post calendars three years in advance.  As a reminder, our school calendars are developed and adopted as part of the bargaining process with the Issaquah Education Association (IEA) who represent our certificated staff. As we shared with the community last spring, while the current 2019-2020 school year calendar was established in 2017, because of the weather experience last year and because calendars for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years were not established, the District would explore opportunities to build in more weather make up options for future calendars.

To that end, District staff members negotiate with IEA’s leadership and gather input from the other labor organizations regarding calendar refinements.  As part of negotiations, we shared with IEA the results of the community survey we conducted last spring asking for input on preferences. It is important to note that while 81.8% of survey respondents stated that they want built-in make up days, there was no clear majority favoring options to refine the calendar by starting the school year before Labor Day or making changes to winter, mid-winter, or spring break. While a majority of parent responders did favor taking time from teacher professional development and prep time on Wednesdays, it would take four Wednesdays to recoup one snow day. In order for us to insert weather make up days, we need to adjust one or several of those factors or extend the school year; all of which have competing desires. See survey here.

We do make every effort to use all options available to us, including application for waiving the school day if we have met the state minimum for instructional time. Meanwhile, calendar negotiations are in process now, and we expect to bring 2021-22 and 2022-23 calendar proposals to the school board for approval at the February 13, 2020 regular meeting. We will announce the approved future calendars through our usual communications channels, like E-News and websites, when the process is complete.