Houghton schools may add more days to school year

With talk of adding days to the end of the school year throwing people for a loop, one district has already added one day to its school year. As ABC 10 Keweenaw Bureau Reporter Sam Ali found out, there may be more additions to come.

In the Houghton-Portage Township School District, they love the sound of two words: snow day. But when you have too many, there starts to be a slight delay in that much-needed summer vacation.

“I’m sure it’s not what everyone wants to hear, but I think people are expecting it,” superintendent Doreen Klingbeil said.

Last week, the district voted to add one day to the current school year. Klingbeil says they might be adding more. “When you have more than six snow days where students are home and they’re missing school, the staff needs to finish the curriculum and they still have to provide that curriculum to students,” she said.

Klingbeil says the reaction has been mostly negative, especially at Houghton High School, but students like junior Madison Labyak say it’s not a big deal. “One day I don’t think will be too bad, just I hope it’s not more, because I love the summers up here,” Labyak said.

Lawmakers did talk about the option of adding minutes to existing days rather than adding full days, but Klingbeil says it gets complicated that
way. “You really would be extending your day by quite a bit of time and you really would have to consider what you’re accomplishing in those minutes versus adding a day or two,” Klingbeil said.

Junior Thomas Schmidt says he can see benefits for either addition. “I would think as far as preparing for the end-of-the-year exams, adding
days would be better, but I suppose there would be lots of people who would like minutes instead,” Schmidt said.

But what about the possibility of having school year-round? “I think that’s something that certainly can be discussed. I do think that
would be a difficult decision in our area, given the weather that we do have,” Klingbeil said.

And what do the students think? “I don’t want school year-round. I think I need summer just to relax,” Labyak said.

“I would not mind that at all, because there would be split-up breaks throughout the year,” Schmidt said.

One thing is certain though: this winter has definitely taken its toll on everyone in the Copper Country.