Teachers working Saturdays to make up snow days

  • Sarah Koenig<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:59am

While Everett School District students have weather days to make up, so do teachers. Professional development days — where teachers get training without students present — have become makeup days for students.

So teachers will work four Saturdays to make up those lost days. That means four six-day workweeks for teachers, many of whom work long hours during the week.

Members of the Everett Education Association voted on the schedule. Knowing that teachers would otherwise be into July to make up days, the union voted to work Saturdays instead, said union president Kim Mead.

She has heard from teachers on the issue.

“It’s not an easy issue for anybody — there’s no perfect solution,” she said. “We have some people who work on weekends, they have a second job, and some people it’s the time with their children.”

Teachers who already had plans they can’t change can use sick days to excuse them from the Saturdays.

No one is ecstatic about working Saturdays, Mead said.

“It’s trying to make the best situation of a not-great situation,” she said.

In Everett, the district must negotiate with the union on makeup days.

There were consistent messages from parents and teachers on makeup days, said Mary Waggoner, communications director for the district.

“They didn’t want us to interrupt the spring break because many people have already got tickets and plans for it,” she said.

People also asked that school not go any further into June than was necessary, especially into the last week of June, Waggoner said.

Other school districts have struggled to make up student and teacher days too.

The Snoqualmie Valley School Board voted to cancel midwinter break, then had to face angry teachers and parents. After one-third of the teaching staff reported they would be unable to show up for work that week, the board reversed its decision.

Students in Tacoma schools have started spending five minutes longer each day at school to make up six days lost to weather.

Teachers in the Edmonds School District have their development days at the end of the year. Teachers will make up days after the students have left, June 25 through 27.

That was a difficult decision, since the optimal time for professional development is during the year, Edmonds officials said.

The state may waive requirements for makeup days under certain conditions. The district is applying for that waiver for one day lost to a wind storm.

Mead said she hasn’t seen anything like this in her 20-year career.

“My hope is we never have to deal with this again,” she said.

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