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Local schools get weather day waiver

Hartselle City Schools will not have to make up days missed due to the April 27 tornado outbreak.
School Superintendent Mike Reed said the school system was approved for a waiver of inclement weather days by State Superintendent Joe Morton on Monday.
Dr. Nancy Horton, director of instruction for Hartselle, said they decided to apply because the city doesn’t have any inclement weather days. The school system missed five days of school this year because of snowstorms and no water before the latest round of severe weather.
“We’ve tried to make up all of the days we missed,” Horton said. “We even had school on Saturday so we could have more instructional days before our standardized testing this spring. We feel like we have done everything we can to make up the days.”
The Morgan County School System is  also applying for a waiver from Morton to have the days it missed due to tornadoes dismissed.
County School Superintendent Bill Hopkins said the school system sent its request to Morton on Monday after School Board President Tom Earwood signed the request. Hopkins said the reason why they are applying for the waiver is due to the school system using all of its inclement weather days for previous weather incidents this school year.
In addition to the tornadoes, Morgan County Schools have missed days for the January snowstorm and flooding from severe thunderstorms.
“I think we’ve shown that we’ve tried to make up all the days that we can,” Hopkins said. “It just really hurt us not being able to go to school for four days because of the storms. We won’t be able to make it up without extending the year.”
If the school system gets the waiver, Hopkins said the school system would be able to keep the same ending of the calendar that the board approved last year.
That means graduation for seniors would be on May 23 for Falkville and Priceville while Brewer and Danville would graduate on May 24.
Although Hopkins has only been superintendent since January, he believes that this school year has seen more inclement weather than is has  seen in a long time, if ever.
“I was talking with another school superintendent and he said that he had to make more decisions about weather this year than he ever had to in his 30-year career,” Hopkins said. “That just shows you how unusual it’s been for us. It’s a once-in-a-generation type of year for the weather.”
Hopkins also added that Ryan School will reopen Monday, May 16. The school had been closed since a tornado hit the Hulaco community of Morgan County.
“The staffs of both schools have worked well together,” Hopkins said. “We’ve just decided that it was best to reopen the school on a Monday.”