State superintendent recommends use of spring break for strike makeup days

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State superintendent recommends use of spring break for strike makeup days
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Those nine days must and will be made up,” the state superintendent of schools pledged of the school instructional time lost in West Virginia’s public schools during the statewide teacher and school service personnel strike.

School students returned to class this past Wednesday, March 7 after being off on Feb. 22, 23, 26, 27, 28 and March 1, 2, 5, 6. All 55 county superintendents canceled school for the strike’s duration.

“Those nine days were days that school employees were paid and that’s per state code based on the rules of the calendar and so all nine of those days will be made up and all employees will make up those days,” Dr. Steve Paine said.

When it comes to makeup methods, Paine said counties have three basic options:

(1) Replace scheduled spring break days with instructional days.
(2) Use accrued instructional time banked through longer school days.
(3) Utilize available days in June at the end of the school year.

In Paine’s view, putting instructional days into what had been scheduled as spring break before the strike makes the most sense.

“I think it’s a hard sell to be out for nine days based on a walkout and then to take off more time during spring break,” he said.

The specifics of school calendars, though, are determined at county levels, not by the state Department of Education.

As for those planning to travel during spring break, “I think that’s a real concern and it’s one that I think each district needs to measure and survey their parents and their constituents (about) in some way, get a feel for how their people feel,” Paine said.

“Right now, I know that that time, made up during that week, is better instructional time to me than time that’s made up on the end of the calendar.”

Under state law, school can continue through June 30.

In addition to the missed school days for the strike, some West Virginia counties have as many as six Snow Days to replace before the end of the school year.

“No budging from those rules, they must be followed,” Paine said during an appearance on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”