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Warren County students, teachers get 'snow days'

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Students and teachers in the Warren County Public Schools system will be getting a break -- four breaks actually -- in the form of four unscheduled days off between early April and the end of the school year.

Thanks to the unusually mild winter, the school system is entering mid-March with four unused make up days for bad weather. As a result, the School Board voted unanimously to close schools on April 2 and April 3, May 4 and to end the school year a day early on June 12.

The June 12 end of the school year also means that the last two teacher professional days are moved up to June 13 and June 14. The May 4 and June 12 days off are dependent upon there being no weather days used by April 16.

Greg Drescher, assistant superintendent for instruction, proposed the revised calendar after concluding that the threat of snow, rain or ice-induced school cancellations is rapidly receding.

Drescher said people much older than him cannot remember when a school year has reached the middle of March with no weather-related cancellations, which are assumed in the setting of academic calendars.

"This leaves us in a little bit of a quandary as to what to do," Drescher told the board at its Thursday meeting.

Board member Kim Athey suggested ending the school year three days earlier instead of one in recognition of the tendency for students to skip school and succumb to lethargy in classes during the last week of school.

Drescher said the problem could not be fixed by canceling more days at the end of the year because there will always be a last week of school, no matter when it is scheduled.
In another matter, the board approved the annual special education plan for the 2012 to 2013 school year submitted by Michael Hirsch. director of special education services.

The plan was accompanied by a table for the 2010-11 school year showing the school system spent $16,819 for each elementary school student with a disability and $18,256 for each secondary school student classified as having a disability.

Per student expenditures for those without disabilities were $7,453 for elementary and secondary students alike.

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