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Superintendent weighs in on school cancellation’s

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While Guthrie school children are enjoying their fourth straight day of an unexpected February vacation, Guthrie Public Schools Superintendent Terry Simpson is not having much fun with the 2011 Guthrie Blizzard.

“You just know what’s coming. You are going have to make these days up,” Simpson said.

Guthrie schools, along with the majority of the other state schools, have now cancelled four straight days after a nearly foot of snow that has brought frigid temperatures to the Sooner state. This is just the second time in Simpson’s tenure that he has had to cancel school for four straight days.

“This is day four and I am watching the snow come down and it does not look like we are going to be getting a whole lot of thawing out. Hopefully, over the weekend we are going to get some,” Simpson said.

“Student and staff safety has to come first, but we have got to start going back at some point,” Simpson explained.

Simpson said the roads have been the major issue with cancellation, but the freezing temperatures are a key factor as well.

“Temperature does play a part. We have a lot of kids that do ride the bus and with wind chills below zero that’s pretty scary,” Simpson said.

GHS Senior Brooke Powell takes in a little snow time.

In total, Guthrie has lost a total of seven school days so far this year. The school calendar was built with three cancelled days built-in. Depending on any more future closings, the school system could still be on schedule to be out before Memorial Day.

GPS now must decide on how to meet the state requirements for classroom instruction of a total of 1,080 hours.

Simpson said he and the school board will meet in session and take a look at the amount of hours they have and what it may take to meet the state requirements. Earlier in the school year, the board decided to function by school hours instead of days and must meet the state formula to imply to instructional time.

With the new formula of hours and not days, there are multiple options to make up for the lost time, including possibly lengthening the school days to gain time toward the recommended formula. The longer days would benefit more instructional time toward the state mandated testing instead of adding days toward the end of the year that are not as productive for instructional time.

However, one possibility is highly unlikely of the State Superintendent’s office of forgiving days for all the schools that have been hit by the winter storm snow. Perhaps, those days are gone with the push for more instructional time.

Simpson said he is not aware of any school building issues with the weather, but will not know for sure until the thawing process begins. The maintenance crew continues to watch the situation and are trying to prevent pipes from freezing.

Copyright 2011 Guthrie Sports Page. Some rights reserved.

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