Hey kids, be careful what you wish for.
Any more snow days this year will mean a shorter summer vacation for Traverse City Area Public Schools students.
The state allows public schools to take up to six snow days per year before they start having to make them up at the end of the season. TCAPS reached that limit when they called off school on Friday.
“Kids might like their snow days today, but they’re not going to like it in June” if there are more weather-related holidays between now and then, says Paul Soma, chief financial officer for the district.
As it stands, June 11 will be the district’s last day of classes – a half day – though the five weekdays from June 13 through June 19 are designated as emergency makeup days just in case.
Soma often gets asked about the financial impact of canceling a day in the winter and adding one in the summer.
“It’s basically a wash,” he says. “You may save a little because you’re not heating the building in June, but it’s so marginal that it’s really pointless.” Soma add that as soon as a snow day is declared, an official turns the heat down in classrooms remotely.
Traverse City’s six snow days so far – actually it’s 6.5 days, taking into account a day that was cut short halfway through because of inclement weather in December – is not the district record. There were eight snow days in both 1978-79 and in 1995-96, says Cindy Berck, director of human resources.
Some districts outside of TCAPS have posted even more snow days. Within the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, Forest Area has closed eight times, while Bellaire, Benzie Central and Buckley have had seven each. Suttons Bay has closed only three days.
The long-term weather forecast? More snow but warming temperatures, though virtually every northern Michigan winter has seen a late season storm.