Worried about school makeup days due to flooding? Missouri may offer forgiveness – STLtoday.com


Missouri is offering help for school calendars that have been upended by flooding.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said it will forgive canceled school days on a case-by-case basis.

So far, those waivers have been granted to two school districts, which were not immediately identified by the education department. But a state memo said those districts had “significant facility damage resulting in a clear inability to conduct school for the remainder of the year.”

Dave Knes, superintendent of Valley Park schools, said his district will file for a waiver as soon as Monday, once the district is certain how many school days it has lost. Classes are already canceled through Friday.

Knes said the circumstances his district is facing are extraordinary, he said, with many students under a mandatory evacuation order.

This late in the school year, he said, many families have already made vacation plans following the end of classes. “We try not to disrupt families,” he said.

Beth Johnston, spokeswoman for Lindbergh schools, said administrators there also will wait to know how many school days the district has missed before approaching the state about a waiver.

Rockwood Superintendent Eric Knost offered a similar take: “All schools impacted by the flooding are requesting the state to forgive the makeup days.”

The authority to forgive lost school days isn’t new. Missouri statute states that the commissioner of education can grant waivers if “the school was closed due to circumstances beyond school district control, including inclement weather, flooding or fire.” Flooding is defined in the statute as an event that “prevents students from attending the public school facility.”

Instructions for applying for a waiver were emailed to school administrators on Wednesday afternoon.

School districts are asked to include the number of lost days for which they are seeking forgiveness, the justification for seeking the waiver and whether state standardized exams have been completed.

Multiple schools districts have canceled classes this week, including Fox, Rockwood, Northwest and Mehlville.

In some cases, school districts that did not experience direct flooding canceled classes due to the inability of some employees to report to work.

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