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Medford school year may be extended

Medford students may have to postpone their summer plans until after June 13 if the Medford School Board approves the district's proposal to tack five instructional days to the end of the school year.

Snowfall and icy road conditions closed Medford schools for three days in December. Now schools must make up the lost classroom time and add two instructional days as required under the teachers' new contract, implemented Dec. 20.

The district will propose revisions to the school year at a special board meeting, set for 11 a.m. today at the district offices, 815 S. Oakdale Ave.

Schools in the district are on target for meeting the mandatory number of instructional hours required by Oregon law, Superintendent Phil Long said.

"In terms of instruction time, we are good, but if we had any other snow days, we might be jeopardized," he said.

The district's tentative plan is to change Monday, April 7, from an instructional day to a professional grading day to meet grading time requirements specified in the contract.

Monday, May 5, which was previously an unpaid recess day, will become a contract day to replace one of the snow days, according to the proposal.

The instructional year will be extended by a week — June 9-13 — with Monday and Tuesday making up for the two remaining snow days and Wednesday for the lost instructional day April 7. Although contract negotiations are still underway, the current contract calls for a longer school year, with 172 rather than 170 instructional days. Thursday and Friday, June 12-13, would fulfill this obligation.

Seniors at North and South Medford high schools will graduate June 7 as planned and will not be required to attend school post-graduation, Long said.

"All other kids will come back and continue to work," he added.

Monday through Wednesday, June 16-18, will become noninstructional contract days for teachers to use for grading, class planning and professional development.

Other school districts also are trying to make up for days lost to December's snowstorm.

Earlier this month, the Central Point School Board approved a revised district calendar to restore two of the four days it lost. Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, were scheduled as parent-teacher conferences but have since been designated as instructional days.

The district will waive two days of lost instructional time, citing an Oregon Revised Statute that allows schools to reduce the mandatory instructional time up to 14 hours when there are closures because of adverse weather conditions.

The Central Point board set aside Tuesday and Wednesday, June 10-11, as "contingency" instructional days in case an emergency or even another snowstorm forces schools to close.

Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4479 or by email at tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.

Correction: This story incorrectly stated the Ashland School District would hold regular classes Monday, Feb. 17 (Presidents' Day). The information has been removed from this story. The district has not decided how it will make up its snow days.