Two days added to school year
The penance for four snow days will be paid at the end of the school year for students attending the Somerset School District.
Because of the high number of snow days, the Somerset Board of Education has decided to add two days at the end of the school year. The school year was originally scheduled to end on Thursday, June 11. Students will now attend school through Monday, June 15.
This really wasn't the school board's decision. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has minimums for the number of hours and the number of days students must be in school. Because the Somerset school day is longer than the average, the district had the minimum number of hours met without adding the two days. But with the four snow days the district was left two days short of the state minimum, forcing the board to add at least two days to the school calendar.
The four inclement weather days caused the school board to review a long standing policy on possible late start for days with inclement weather. Somerset has had a policy of not starting any school day late. That policy dates back nearly 20 years. The policy was the result of the many years that Somerset had split bus routes.
Two years ago the district was able to do away with the double route schedule when Safeway Bus Company was hired to be the school district's bus company.
With the four snow days this year, the board decided to survey district parents on whether they should reconsider the policy and allow late starts. An overwhelming majority of responses from parents favored the option of late starts. The board approved the possibility of utilizing late starts instead of calling off full days of school in the future.
Plans continue to move ahead to have a second entrance built into the school property this summer.
Russ Kiviniemi of Cedar Corporation brought the school board information on the north entrance project. The board agreed with the idea to make the drive 22-feet wide instead of 24 feet, which will knock more than $6,000 off the project.
The cost estimate for the project currently stands at $287,000, including engineering. The only costs not included were lights that would be placed along the drive. The board instructed Kiviniemi to work with Xcel Energy to come up with a bid for the street lights for the drive.
Board member Catherine Cranston said she attended parent-teacher conferences and district residents she met were largely in favor of the addition of a second driveway. Board member Bob Gunther, who works for the Village of Somerset, said there have been two complaints from residents who live near the entrance of the new street.
The board is considering other projects it can proceed with if the driveway project comes in under budget. One of the projects is to build an exit road from the parking lot behind the high school. There is currently only one exit from this parking lot.
Another possible project is widening a couple corners on the intersections on the school property. Some of the intersections are at angles that are difficult for buses to navigate and these wider corners would make for easier cornering for the buses.