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City Schools of Decatur conducting survey on making up day lost due to water main break

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City Schools of Decatur conducting survey on making up day lost due to water main break

City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices. Photo by Dena Mellick
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City Schools of Decatur Administrative Offices. Photo by Dena Mellick

City Schools of Decatur students have missed several days of school this year, but for the most part the board has opted not to make them up.

However, a water main break that occurred on March 7 forced the school system to miss one more day than anticipated. Now CSD is conducting a survey on how to make up that day. Options include adding one day to the school calendar or going to school on a Saturday or Sunday.

Here’s the full survey announcement from CSD:

The Board of Education has asked the district to present options to make-up one of our missed school days. We are seeking feedback on several options to share with the Board at their April 17 meeting. A survey to provide feedback is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W2GM6C6. The survey closes Monday, April 16 at noon.

Make-up Day FAQ

How many days have we missed this school year?

CSD has missed 7 school days total, 5 of which were for declared States of Emergency:

  • 3 days in September due to Hurricane Irma, all of which were during a State of Emergency

  • 3 days in January due to inclement weather, 2 of which were declared a State of Emergency

  • 1 day in March due to the county water main break

What impact have these missed days had on students’ learning?

While it is challenging to miss school days, CSD teachers have adapted the curriculum to accommodate for the missed time.

How many days is CSD required to make-up?

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) does not require City Schools of Decatur, a charter school system, to make-up missed days. Per the GaDOE on Sept. 13, 2017, “All Charter School Systems have waivers from O.C.G.A. 20-2-168 and State Board of Education Rule 160-5-1-.02 School Day and School Year for Students and Employees regarding the number of days and hours of instruction required in a school year. Therefore, for Charter Systems, the decision to make-up school days missed for any reason is at the discretion of the superintendent and local boards of education understanding that the student performance accountability terms for each contract remain in place.”

If CSD were not a charter system, state statute provides four emergency days (or missed school days) to be waived. Non-charter systems can also petition to the GaDOE to be waived from making up days missed during a declared State of Emergency.

How many days have we made up?

At the January meeting, the Board voted to use March 12 (previously scheduled as a teacher workday) as an inclement weather makeup day.

Why are the survey options for making up only one additional day?

Anticipating that we were mostly beyond the inclement weather season, the Board voted in January to make-up only one missed day. Since then, students have missed one additional day.

Although we are not required to make-up missed days, the day in March was unusual and the Board wants to explore options to potentially make-up lost instructional time.

What options are under consideration?

The Board will be provided stakeholder input on four options:

  • Not making up any additional school days

  • Adding one full day (Tuesday, May 29) to the end of the school calendar.

  • Holding a full school day on a Saturday or Sunday in late April or May

  • Adding no fewer than 30 minutes to the end of the school days until we have made up 5.5 instructional hours (11 days at 30 minutes per day)

Community members can provide input or present additional options directly to the Board at board@csdecatur.net or during public comment at the April 17 Board of Education meeting.

If the Board adds a day to the school year calendar or makes a Saturday or Sunday a school day, how will student absences be handled?

Schools will follow normal procedures, governed by CSD Board Policy JB: Student Attendance, for excused and unexcused absences for all of the makeup day options.

What is the potential impact of these various options?

  • Adding May 29 as a school day: Employees would adhere to “blackout day” procedures to request leave that day. Teachers would lose May 29 as a post-planning day for grading and planning for next school year. May 30 would remain the last workday for 190-day employees.

  • Making Saturday or Sunday a school day: It would be challenging to secure substitute teachers, and we would expect low student turnout.

  • Adding 30 or more minutes to the school day: Morning bus routes would be unchanged, and afternoon routes would run 30 minutes later than usual. CSD-sponsored athletic and extracurricular activities will be adjusted or rescheduled.

How will we address this issue in the future?

Up to this year, CSD’s 180-day school year calendars included some days in 5-day student holidays marked as “possible makeup days.” However, CSD rarely turned those days into actual school days even when weather and other circumstances led to missed school days. The Board of Education voted at the March meeting to revise the 2018-19 calendar to:

  • remove the uncertainty of “possible” but rare makeup days during 5-day holidays, emphatically making them student holidays.

  • add two extra school days as a “buffer” to more easily accommodate days missed due to uncontrollable circumstances.

  • designate two stand-alone teacher workdays as possible makeup days.

The draft calendar for 2019-20 will have three extra school days.

Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W2GM6C6

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